Our Mission

Photo Patch Foundation endeavors to demystify what children of incarcerated parents face and need, as there is often a disconnect between what people suspect and reality. Traumatized by the sudden separation when their incarcerated parents are taken away, children of all ages are at risk of:

low self-esteem, impaired achievement motivation, and poor peer relations. In addition, these children contend with feelings like anxiety, shame, sadness, grief, social isolation and guilt. The children will often withdraw and regress developmentally, exhibiting behaviors of young children, like bed-wetting… As the children reach adolescence, they may begin to act out in anti-social ways. Searching for attention, pre-teens and teens are at a high risk for delinquency, drug addiction, and gang involvement.[1]

A Growing Problem

Over 2.7 million children are currently torn apart from their incarcerated parent(s).

What is not widely known is that these adverse effects are only exacerbated when incarcerated parents and their children lack regular contact with each other. [2]

Photo Patch understands that “preserving and strengthening family connections can yield constructive benefits in the form of reduced recidivism, less inter-generational criminal justice system involvement and the promotion of healthy child development.” [3]

Communication

Unless the parent has a history of violence against the child or another close family member, “the child most often benefits from maintaining contact with the parent in prison… Maintaining contact can help kids cope with anxiety, anger and fear over separation.” [4]

Yet communication between children and their incarcerated parents is inconvenient and often unsustainable. Phone calls from prisons are expensive and can only be placed at designated times; and prison visits are emotionally grueling, physically demanding, and often degrading experiences for families.

The U.S. Department of Justice most recently cited only 19% state parent inmates report seeing their children at least once a month (USDJ, 2008). 5More notably, 58.5% of state parent inmates and 44.7% of federal parent inmates report having never been visited by their children (USDJ, 2008).[5]

Writing letters and sending photos is the last method of communication between children and their incarcerated parents. Unfortunately, U.S. postage mail is censored, time consuming and foreign to children. We endeavor to make this process easier. As many as 48.3% of state parent inmates and 36.5% of federal parent inmates report receiving letters from their children less than once a month, with 30% of state parent inmates and 16% report never having received any mail from their children.

With your help, children will have the opportunity to communicate with their parents on a consistent basis, something these children desperately need.

Writing letters and sending photos are also restricted by a myriad of rules and regulations; most importantly that they can only be sent and received by U.S. Postage. This makes it particularly difficult for minor children to get the necessary material and money to send letters frequently, if at all.

With your help, children will have the opportunity to communicate with their parents on a consistent basis, something these children desperately need.

 

 

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