School Counseling for Children of Incarcerated Parents

School Counseling for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Emily C. Brown, Malti Tuttle, Dylan Hebert
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9785-9.ch011
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Children of incarcerated parents may have traumatic experiences that correlate with negative educational and mental health outcomes. School counselors are ideally suited to provide trauma-informed school counseling for children of incarcerated parents through individual, group, or classroom counseling interventions while also collaborating with stakeholders. This chapter provides school counselors an overview of the possible trauma of parental incarceration while describing approaches to help meet the needs of students. The authors describe the importance of collaborating with caregivers, administrators, school nurses, and teachers to help promote a positive school climate, offer support, and reduce the possible stigma connected to parental incarceration. The authors recommend advocacy practices and future research areas to continue to promote trauma-informed school counseling for children of incarcerated parents.
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Addressing The Trauma Of Parental Incarceration

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; or experiences of household dysfunction (parental divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, or incarceration) have the potential to cause trauma (Anda et al., 2006; Felitti et al., 1998). Multiple and cumulative ACEs can have lasting harm to children’s well-being and brain development and increase health risks for adults (e.g., substance abuse, suicide attempts, heart disease) (Anda et al., 2006; Felitti et al., 1998). Trauma has been defined as the result of “an event … or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life threatening and that has lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2014, p. 7). Therefore, school counselors may note these three primary criteria for trauma (i.e., event, experience of event, and effects) among CIP.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mentoring: An intentional relationship between two individuals with one person in a role to support the other in the development of positive characteristics, skills, and attitudes.

Stakeholders: Adults who are invested in the success of all students. A few examples within the school setting include administrators, school counselors, school nurses, teachers, parents, and social workers.

School Climate: The social and behavioral factors that influence the school environment.

Collaboration: The partnership and engagement between stakeholders to support the development of all students within a school setting by creating an environment for all students to succeed.

Group Counseling: A direct service provided by school counselors with a group of students to address academic, career, and social/emotional needs where students work together to build trust, relationships, and support while working on a particular issue or concern.

Comprehensive School Counseling Programs: Efforts led by school counselors to promote student achievement by attending to the academic, career, and personal/social needs of all students in the school.

Trauma-Informed Schools: The intentional focus and approach of implementing practices and policies to create a school environment for students to feel supported and safe.

Children of Incarcerated Parents: Minors under the age of 18 with a father and/or mother who is in jail or state or federal prison.

Trauma: An event perceived as harmful with lasting effects on well-being.

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