In the USA today, there are 2.7 million children with a parent in prison, while 10 million American children have experienced parental incarceration at some point in their lives. The knock on effects of incarceration to the entire family are devastating, leaving children with loss of emotional support, poor self esteem, increased stresses on the separated the family unit, and a dramatic impact on family finances.
Happier Birthdays is a new program that will bring joy, comfort and relief to these children, whose birthdays fall during a time of family crisis. The program provides birthday presents on behalf of the incarcerated parent, to enable these children to feel special and important on their big day. The accompanying birthday greeting from their parent will help these children to feel connected to their parent, knowing they are loved and in their thoughts.
By enabling parents to give their children a birthday present, the program will help foster relationships, and provide the opportunity for a positive and nurturing family interaction, which is especially important the child’s birthay. This will create a stronger family bond, as well as boost the child’s self esteem and reduce the pain and stigma of incarceration and family poverty. The very act of birthday gift giving and receiving between parent and child, will strengthen the family bond.
Strong family relationships are a powerful buffer against criminal
behaviour and the core of strong communities.