The effects of parental incarceration on the school behavior of poor urban Black children
Kingsberry, Sheridan Quarless
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Kingsberry, S. Q., Fountain, N., & Juarez, S. (2014). The effects of parental incarceration on the school behavior of poor urban Black children. The Advanced Generalist: Social Work Research Journal, 1 (2), p 37-51
Children whose parents are incarcerated experience emotional traumas that are harmful to their social competence and overall well-being. When parents go to prison, children'.0s lives become traumatic, distressed, and unstable. Young children who are unable to articulate their emotional distress instead manifest disruptive behaviors in school. Poor black children who display disruptive behaviors in school are at especially high-risk for exclusionary discipline practices, such as suspension and expulsion. These practices have been shown to negatively impact the development of their social and emotional competence and further impede their academic achievement. The HOPE Project was a 3-year pilot project that provided school-based therapeutic services to black children with incarcerated parents. The children were enrolled in three elementary schools located in an urban, poverty-impacted community. Program evaluation findings suggest that intense age-appropriate therapy conducted in schools is a helpful intervention for reducing negative in-school behaviors and increasing the social and emotional competence of poor, urban black children to keep them engaged in school. The findings have important implications for social work practice in the school setting with children who have parents that are incarcerated.