Kids Whose Mothers Are Incarcerated Still Deserve to See Their Families at Christmas

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school-busIt’s a big deal for children to be with their families, especially during the holidays, when all the world’s media seems to trumpet the importance of family. When TV, commercials, and school events are all focused on family, a kid who can’t see his or her parents could feel even more left out and hopeless than usual. Some chilldren’s mothers are incarcerated, but that does not mean the kids deserve to be punished.

In previous years, buses were available to take the children of incarcerated mothers in Illinois to visit their moms at the Logan and Decatur prisons for Christmas. This year, according to Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration, budget cuts have reportedly led to the buses being canceled, which means a lot of small children are not going to be able to see their mothers for Christmas, and the news will be devastating.

“Visits are crucial for kids and moms. An estimated 80% of incarcerated moms in IL state prisons have children who are minors, some were born while their moms were serving time, and most lived with their moms as their primary caregivers before the separation of incarceration,” the organization said on it website. “The majority of those crimes are minor, but are repeat offenses related directly to poverty or trauma and addiction.”

These kids are already suffering too much as it is. Many are being raised in foster care, or by grandparents or other relatives. A lot of these kids are in situations where there just aren’t the resources for them to be taken to see their mothers, so visits are rare at best.

Transportation to see their mothers is key, but even the bus ride itself is a significant experience for a kid whose mother is incarcerated. What must it be like to be a kid whose mother is in prison, and to be on a bus full of other kids your age for whom that is also the case? No one gives you weird looks. No one stares. Everyone knows what it is like to not get to see your mother very often and to be getting to go see her for the holidays. Older kids who have done this before help you feel not as scared about being processed into the prison to see your mother.

It’s important for these kids to be able to see their mothers for the holidays, and they don’t deserve to miss out this year. The organization is raising funds via a YouCaring drive to pay for the buses to take kids to see their mothers for the holidays this year, and they’re close to making it. That means a lot of kids who otherwise wouldn’t get to see their mothers will be able to have a better holiday this year. The campaign goal is $2,500, and can be seen here.

(Photo: Mokee88/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)