AUSTIN — Texas children who have incarcerated parents suffer from trauma and emotional instability at the same magnitude as abuse and domestic violence, according to research study released Monday.
The study could carry a significant message in Texas, a state with a historically high-incarceration rate that also has had limited funding for mental-health programs that could divert additional people from the nation’s largest state criminal-justice system.
“Shared Sentence,” the report written by the philanthropy group Annie E. Casey Foundation, states that more than 477,000 Texas children — 7 percent of the state’s child population — have experienced trauma after being separated from their parents.
Nationally, 5.1 million children have been affected, according to the study.
According to the report, a child who has a parent behind bars can face increased mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, that hamper educational achievement. Those children are more likely to contend with poor mental and physical health as adults.