Children at Risk

PsySRChildren are the world’s future and every community’s current joy. And childhood--a loving, long, secure, challenging, and joyful childhood--is the time and space they ask us, the adults, to help them create for their healthy development. A healthy childhood, with a balanced, developmentally responsive offering of protections and challenges, empowers them to grow at their own pace into socially engaged community activists, creative and productive workers, loving parents, and fulfilled and focused adults.

At birth, among the young of all species, human infants are unique in the extraordinary quality of care that they require from others of their species to survive and thrive. And the span of childhood in the human species is also a uniquely long one. That has been underscored by recent brain imaging studies indicating that even adolescents’ brains are still very much in a process of maturing. Such a lengthy period of maturation makes childhood a time of special resilience and opportunities.Read More »

A PsySR Member Perspective: Sydney Gurewitz Clemens on Supporting Children of Incarcerated Parents

Because of severe sentencing and the drastic increase in incarceration of women, the number of children who have parents in jail or prison has risen from about 1,500,000 in 1999 to 2,300,000 in 2004, and now is estimated at over 3 million.

These children suffer from a range of traumatic experiences: first and foremost, separation from a significant relationship, and also: seeing their parents taken away; not being able to visit for long periods of time or not being able to visit at all; being treated, when visiting jail or prison, like prisoners themselves (e.g., frisked, patted down, taken through barred gate after barred gate, visiting through thick glass windows, their voices mediated through telephones, never getting to sit in a lap or hug a beloved parent).Read More »

Links and Resources to Learn More and Take Action

Alliance for Childhood
The Alliance for Childhood promotes policies and practices that support children’s healthy development, love of learning, and joy in living. Our public education campaigns bring to light both the promise and the vulnerability of childhood. We act for the sake of the children themselves and for a more just, democratic, and ecologically responsible future.

Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood is a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration.

Child Soldiers: From Violence to Protection (2006) by Michael Wessells (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Children's Defense Fund
The Children's Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.CDF provides a strong, effective voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby, or speak for themselves. CDF pays particular attention to the needs of poor and minority children and those with disabilities.

Children's Environmental Health Network
The Children's Environmental Health Network is a national multi-disciplinary organization whose mission is to protect the fetus and the child from environmental health hazards and promote a healthy environment.

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers works to prevent the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, to secure their demobilisation and to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

UNICEF and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
UNICEF’s mission is to advocate for the protection of children’s rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential. UNICEF is guided in doing this by the provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations.

War Child International
War Child International is a family of independent humanitarian organisations which work together to help children and young people affected by armed conflict. We seek to complement the work of each of our organisations in a way that maximizes our collective efforts for the benefit of children and young people.