Eight percent of Iowa children have had at least one parent incarcerated, according to a new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. That statistic works out to roughly 58,000 kids.
Mike Crawford analyzes child welfare data for Des Moines-based Child and Family Policy Center. He says research shows the impact of parental incarceration can be just as significant as abuse or domestic violence.
To mitigate negative effects, Crawford says communities should support family stability.
"A couple ways we can do that is to have prison and community organizations provide family counseling and parenting courses," he says. "And [also] provide incentives to housing authorities and local landlords to allow people with a record, or records to access safe an affordable house."
The study says when a parent is incarcerated, often a child is sentenced to emotional and economical losses. It recommends policymakers find ways to provide kids with financial, legal, childcare and housing assistance to.