'Positive change in communities'

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There is an average of 2 million people behind bars on any given year; children being a huge number of unseen victims. With so many teachers and other health professionals being trained in trauma based care and how to identify these children the public needs to be aware of the problem too.

Once the children are identified the families and communities can start giving support, but due to the stigmas and bias surrounding prisoners their children don't always want to come forward and be judged themselves. When communities come together there is better growth and unity present.

Not only community support is going to be enough, the schools will play a major role in identification and assistance in the child's needs. There are some outcomes that have been seen and related to a parents imprisonment: lower school attainment, increase risk of truancy - especially if they choose to go visit said parent - expulsion, emotional difficulties including depression and suicidal thoughts/tendencies. In kids this is going to be apparent in acting out more in class, especially in the younger grades.

We need to show these kids that there are other options, that they don't have to and won't end up like their parents. They don't have to be destined for that life. Help within the schools, from teachers, along with counseling/help groups for kids will let them know they are not alone in this, that others care about what they are going through. Awareness and education should be the main focus, and hopefully we can start to see a positive change in community.

Ashleigh Henthorn

Whitewater

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