Many Children Today Face Overwhelming Stress
Today’s children face multiple stresses surrounding separation from family and community. This separation in and of itself is very stressful. The reasons for the separation are also stressful, and may include:
- Parent(s) who are addicted to opioids or substances causing them to neglect their children.
Based on data from 2014 and earlier, about 1 in 8 children (8.7 million) aged 17 or younger lived in households with at least one parent who had a Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
- Parent(s) who are incarcerated, sometimes for minor and non-violent offenses.
I recently read of a mother who had her baby induced so she could nurse for six weeks before her incarceration. Nationally, there are more than 120,000 incarcerated mothers and 1.1 million incarcerated fathers who are parents of minor children ages 0-17.
- Immigrant parent(s) who must leave their citizen children behind when ICE detains or deports them.
According to 2010-2014 census data, nine million U.S. citizen children under the age of 18 are currently at risk of separation because they live with an undocumented family member.
Children also experience stresses in their family and community, including:
- Gun Shot Wounds: Approximately 21 U. S. children and teens (ages 1-17) are shot every day, the second leading cause of injury related death.
- Sexual and Physical Abuse: Children have always been victims of abuse. Today’s children may face the publicity of their misery that is often posted on social media. Surely this publicity hampers their chance of recovery.
When children are neglected, usually they are referred to state-run Departments of Children and Family Services (DCF). Generally, after a short research period to determine if there is an existing guardian, each child is placed in family or group foster care, and there is little or no counseling available to help children deal with the event causing separation or the separation itself.
In the next newsletter, we will discuss more about Foster Care.