OKLAHOMA CAPITOL -- Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any state in the nation*, making their children the hidden, innocent victims. Those issues will be discussed in the Practice and Policy Lecture Series, sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS). “Tell me a Story: The Reality of Oklahoma’s Children of Incarcerated Parents,” will be Friday, February 17, from Noon to 1 p.m. in the Chesapeake Room of the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive in Oklahoma City.
Redeeming the Family is co-sponsoring the lecture, and Executive Director Cheri Fuller will bring to light some of the challenges facing children whose mothers are incarcerated.
Fuller says children are deeply affected socially, emotionally and academically by the incarceration of a parent—especially a mother. “Few children see their incarcerated parents on a regular basis and most not at all,” she says. “It is difficult for parents to maintain contact with their children while they are incarcerated due to a lack of resources. That may include the child’s distance from prison and family hardships, among other things.”
Without contact, Fuller says children may begin to perceive their parents as strangers, making their adjustment with caregivers or other adults more challenging and reunification with their parents even more difficult. However, she says “there is evidence that maintaining the child-parent relationship while a parent is incarcerated improves a child’s emotional response to the incarceration and also encourages parent-child attachment.”
Fuller is an author and international speaker who has taught at every level from elementary school to college. Additionally, she has written several books, appeared on national television and radio, and in 2004 was named “Oklahoma Mother of the Year.” Fuller and her husband reside in Edmond.
The Practice and Policy Lecture Series has been developed to provide thought-provoking presentations on Oklahoma's emerging policy issues, trends and best practices. The series is sponsored by the OKDHS Office of Planning, Research and Statistics and the University of Oklahoma Center for Public Management with the goal of providing the best educational opportunities available in a forum that offers participants an opportunity to question, share and learn.
All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information contact the Office of Planning, Research and Statistics at (405) 521-3552 or visit the Practice and Policy Lecture Series website (Link opens in new window).
*Oklahoma Commission on the Status of Women