The financial standing of a family receives a huge blow when one parent is incarcerated. Single moms with fathers in jail not only suffer from loss of income but also have to pay for additional costs like visitation, prison phone calls, legal fees, and childcare. If you are a single mom facing reduced income because of your partner’s incarceration then do not lose hope as there are many programs and financial assistance available to help the prisoner family economically in the United States.
Tips For Single Moms To Support Their Children When Father Is In Prison
Every 1 in 28 children raised in the United States of America has at least one parent who is in prison or jail. These kids go through several stressors including physical, emotional, financial, and academic hardship. A lot of kids do not feel free to talk about their trauma and problems as they assume that speaking about incarceration will make matters worse. As per the report of the American Academy of Pediatrics, having one parent in prison causes adverse childhood experiences and childhood trauma thereby leading to poor well-being and health. As an adult, children witness their fathers being arrested and go through many stressful events like trial and even sentencing. Being a single mom, you can support your kids to get through difficult situations by following the below-mentioned strategies.
1. Have Open Communication With Your Kids
Children with one guardian in jail have to experience tough situations like discrimination and bullying in society. Being the sole caregiver you need to answer all the doubts and questions that arise in their mind and promote resilience by stressing on having an open communication with them daily. Single moms can give them advice and be an anchor of support for them. This way they can help their children to survive the trauma associated with their parents going to jail.
2. Build A Support Network
When the biological father of the child is incarcerated it is natural for single moms to feel overwhelmed with financial struggles and new responsibilities. You can seek help from trusted adults such as your close friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers in this type of situation. Building a wider network of cooperative and supportive adults will help your kids to build resilience. Supportive adults may also include teachers from extended family members, members of the religious community, coaches, and so on. Try to acknowledge the concerns of your child, create a safe and positive environment for your kids to talk openly, and encourage skill-building and active playing.
3. Prioritize Stability
Single moms should set up routines to help their children cope with the loss when their father is imprisoned. Seeing a parent going to jail is not easy for your little ones to face as they lose a caregiver, their school, their home, and their friends. Try to keep their environment as stable as possible. Build resilience through athletic, academic, cultural, and challenging activities so that they can develop problem-solving attitudes in a friendly setting. Many kids wish to stay connected to their incarcerated father and if you share a healthy relationship with your partner then you can consider connecting your children with the incarcerated parent so that they can get stability and reduce the sense of loss. You can remove the barriers to communication with an incarcerated family member by writing, calling, or participating in video visits and through email.
4. Apply For Programs That Can Help You And Your Children
Single moms should evaluate whether they can qualify for social welfare programs and assistance will suffer if they can apply for programs like Medicaid, Temporary Assistance For Needy Families Program, and housing assistance to lower their financial burden. There are also community programs available to support kids of incarcerated parents. Many programs offer supportive services like counseling, therapy, and mentorship to children and single mothers. You can talk to the pediatrician of your children and identify local resources and programs within your community.
5. Always Remember You Are Not Alone
Single moms who feel that they are going through challenging times alone should not feel disheartened. Some wonderful programs and resources may help them cover their and their children’s needs while one guardian is in jail. You can research the civic organizations and local churches that provide after-school programs for teenagers and children. Besides, mentoring programs can help you to connect your child with coaches and get practical help. Local organizations such as community colleges, hospitals, public health services, public hospitals, and civic groups provide parenting classes to single moms so that they can address the needs of their children and raise healthy children while one of their parents is in jail.
Single Mom Father In Jail Financial Assistance Programs
Going through a single mom father in jail CPS case? Following is the list of programs and resources that you can avail yourself of from different government organizations, local communities, and nonprofit organizations in the United States of America.
1. Food And Housing Program
Many government assistance programs can assist single moms in economic need including needy families of the incarcerated facing reduced income. These food and housing programs cover basic areas like financial aid to pay for heating and cooling bills, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to cover grocery bills of the family as well as energy assistance programs. Single moms going through similar situations can contact the welfare office of their county and learn more details about how to avail the options and programs. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program offers financial help to low-income families and single-parent households with children who are not in a position to meet their basic needs. The United States Department Of Housing and Urban Development also offers reduced rents to avail apartments and public housing.
2. AFOI, Assisting Families of Inmates
Based in Virginia the organization Assisting Families Of Inmates offers resources and programs for kids belonging to incarcerated parents. Single mothers who are going through financial difficulty and want to cope with incarceration and help their children can seek referrals, supportive services, and community resources from AFOI. The institution has run the Milk And Cookies Children’s Program throughout Richmond for more than 11 years. The foundation is committed to the population of poor children and their sole caregivers. Financial assistance and resources are available for the needs of families. Single moms who are sole caregivers of kids of incarcerated parents can get help with housing, financial assistance, employment, transportation, and other needs. The objective of the organization is to offer assistance and support to kids of incarcerated parents.
3. Child Care Assistance Program
Even though insurance, education, and childcare assistance programs may vary in the United States depending on which state you belong to, the Child Care Assistance program enables single moms to cover a portion or total childcare expenses when a parent is incarcerated and they are going through tight finances. When a family member is incarcerated single moms and their children can apply for grants to get educational help. For instance, the Sunshine Lady Foundation provides the Women’s Independence Scholarship Program where victims of abuse and domestic violence get an opportunity to attend college either full-time or part-time. This way single moms can get a chance to get personal independence as well as employment opportunities when their husband is incarcerated.
4. Children of Inmates
This organization is based in Florida and aims to keep lines of communication open between incarcerated parents and their little ones. As per children of inmates, the organization introduces children of incarcerated parents and helps them to build a long-lasting bond with their parents. Incarcerated parents can also create positive moments and memories with their children with the help of this organization. Children Of Inmates advocates for strengthening the bond between incarcerated parents and their kids. Single moms with a father-in-prison can help their kids mitigate the suffering and trauma caused due to the separation by taking help from this organization. The organization focuses on raising happy, productive, and healthy kids. Bonding Visit is a series of supportive services provided by the organization to create a link between children and their incarcerated guardians.
This program is based in Atlanta and ensures that every child gets an equal opportunity to be surrounded by the affection and love of their family members. Foreverfamily is an organization that offers single moms and eligible parents in Atlanta to nurture their kids emotionally, educationally, and socially. The after-school programs are designed for young children so that they can psychologically cope with the trauma associated with the incarceration of their parents and get a safe having to interact with other kids who are in a similar situation.
How To Seek Help As A Single Mom If Father Is In Jail?
Single-parent families of incarcerated individuals can apply for financial assistance programs from a variety of United States charities to cover the loss of income. Many churches and synagogues provide free food, clothing, and shelter to single moms who are facing similar situations. They also offer supportive services like literacy programs, job training, and employment activities. Depending on your need and location the charities can also help you to avail transportation help and child care assistance to achieve self-sufficiency in life. Children grown in households headed by single mothers with an incarcerated parent face unique emotional and social needs. More than 2 million kids have a parent in jail. Fortunately, to help reduce the trauma of kids and give new life to single moms and their children, many nonprofit organizations and charities provide them with financial assistance programs. Once you are found eligible for assistance the state will provide you a monthly check to meet the needs of you and your children.
Things To Consider
Following is the list of the things that you may consider as a single mom with a father in jail:
1. Single Moms Must Let The Father In Jail Know About The Achievements Of Their Kids
Sharing the accomplishments of your children with your incarcerated partner is important so that he can know what to celebrate. Try to keep him informed about the accomplishments your kids are making so that he can stay connected to them even if he is not physically present.
2. Single Moms Must Not Prevent The Father In Jail To Contact With Their Kids
Whenever you can accept a call let your children speak and connect to their father in jail. Help your kids plan by deciding the topics before making a call so that they do not go off-topic. Support and encourage your kids to draw pictures and write letters to their father in jail. Check with the prison if you can send your children’s pictures and letters or photos to the father in jail.
3. Respect Your Children’s Emotions And Feelings
Be open to your children regarding the whereabouts of the incarcerated parent. It will not be safe to tell them the wrong information that their parents are in hospital or on a business trip. This is because when they come to know about the reality through a newspaper article, neighbor, or friend they may become upset or distrust you. Explain the mistakes of the incarcerated parent, encourage kids to openly discuss their emotions, and help them cope with the situation.
Many children have to go through an unfortunate situation like parental incarceration that leaves a significant impact on their physical, academic, and mental well-being. Programs and financial assistance are valuable and necessary for single moms to help their children deal with parental incarceration and financial obstacles. Many organizations also provide scholarships to the sole caregiver and their children so that they can attain higher educational goals. As a single mom, you can explore programs that will help to assist incarcerated parents and build strong relationships with their kids.