Children of Incarcerated Parents Need Caring Volunteers To Improve Quality Of Life

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3 NIV).

The errors that parents occasionally make all too often end up on the shoulders of their children. Failing to secure a well-paying job before having kids, not having a home fit to raise children in or having kids while the relationship between you and your partner is failing are just some signs of a rough road ahead. While the ramifications of some of those mistakes aren’t as life-altering as others, ending up behind bars is a monumental disruption that is going to require complicated logistics to work around. Incarceration has a terrible effect on children.  I like to volunteer with Grace Camp and help children of parents who are presently behind bars by going fishing with them.  As simple a gesture as it may be, an afternoon fishing trip is just one example of programs and services that good Christian men and women can participate in if they’d like to help kids in need. In this article, we’ll explore some of the facts surrounding the children who so desperately need a compassionate figure in their lives who can also provide a sense of comfort and control.

While government-run or non-profit programs to help these children vary from state to state, the size of the problem can’t be under-estimated. For example, recent figures show that a little more than 81,000 children in Pennsylvania alone had a parent in state prison. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), children living with one parent while the other is behind bars is the most common outcome. However, grandparents, other relatives, friends, and foster agencies often fill the void. It’s easy to extrapolate from here that not every household is equipped to provide the adequate level of care; a grandparent or foster care facility simply can’t take the kids out to play the same way that a parent could. The federal Child Welfare Information Gateway further shows that parental rights can be terminated is a child has spent 15 of the past 22 months in foster care or simply abandoned. “With the average sentence being more than 1 year, this requirement can be a significant barrier to reunification for incarcerated parents,” a recent HHS child welfare document reads.

These vulnerable children are the ones who need the most love and volunteering your time to help those in foster care while they await adoption is one of the most self-less things an individual can do.  Given that there are an estimated 2.1 million people in jail across the U.S., it’s time someone start looking after the lives they left behind.

Prayer:   Dear God, Help us to realize that when we visit those in prison we are visiting You. Amen.

Meet the Author

Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

We welcome your comments below.

Thank you for visiting. We trust that you have enjoyed reading our articles.

Liked this post?

Read more below or search for more topics...

  • Joy Of Being ‘Saved’ Just One Stop On Long Road Toward Salvation

    Joy Of Being ‘Saved’ Just One Stop On Long Road Toward Salvation One of the phrases that I hear from fellow Christians quite often is one that gives him both joy and concern: “I am saved!” Quite often, the person has recently been born again and is joyous and with good reason: They have accepted Christ into their life and have accepted Him as their Lord and Savior. However, after speaking with the person, I begin to realize that they feel that they are now “good with God” and there is no need for anything else.“I rejoice when another brother or...
  • All We Can Do Now Is Pray?

    All We Can Do Now Is Pray? “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16 KJV).I was recently talking with a friend of mine whose wife is in hospice care.  He has been keeping in close contact with his pastor and passing along daily medical updates.  Each day the pastor told my friend to “hang in there” and then politely end the conversation.  Eventually her condition became critical and the doctors estimated that she only a few more days to live.  My friend spoke to his pastor that day and relayed the devastation news.  The pastor said,...
  • The Right Prayer Is…

    The Right Prayer Is... “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27 NIV). As Christians, we all know that prayer is our direct means of communication with God.  Through our prayers and petitions we communicate with God our needs, worries, and joys.  Some people have a poor prayer life because they are not certain...