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Governor’s Council to Examine the Needs of Louisiana Children Whose Parents are Incarcerated

LOUISIANA – Today, the Council on the Children of Incarcerated Parents and Caregivers will host their first-ever meeting to examine the needs of children in Louisiana whose parents or caregivers are in jail or prison. A law passed June 17, 2020 last year established the Council under Governor John Bel Edwards’ Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board. 

The meeting will be held virtually at 10:00 a.m. CST on the Governor’s Office of Community Programs YouTube Channel found here

Children with incarcerated parents and caregivers often face a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral health issues throughout their lives as a direct result of separation from their parent due to incarceration. At the meeting, Council members will review current legislation and policies that impact children of incarcerated parents and caregivers in Louisiana and discuss its priorities for 2021. 

The Council is composed of representatives from the state departments of education and child family services; law enforcement stakeholders; and families directly impacted. Dominque Johnson and Bree Anderson, founders of Daughters Beyond Incarceration, are also members of the Council. Each member will serve a two-year term. 

“Daughters Beyond Incarceration is thrilled to be a part of this important mission,” Johnson said. “We are ready to get to work on behalf of the thousands of young people who are struggling with being separated from parents and caregivers due to imprisonment.”

In 2020, Louisiana lawmakers passed legislation creating the Council on the Children of Incarcerated Parents and Caregivers under the governor’s office. The Council will work with policymakers and agencies that serve impacted children and incarcerated individuals to propose comprehensive reforms throughout the state. 

“The imprisonment of a parent or caregiver can have a profound impact on a child’s life, including their health, physical safety and education” said Lauren Winkler, senior staff attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s children’s rights practice group in Louisiana. “It is our hope that the Council will deliver a set recommendations that promote healthy parent-child relationships during a parent or caregiver’s incarceration and mitigate the risk of harm to their children.”