According to the Pew Center on the States, 2.7 million U.S. children have a parent behind bars. Most face multiple challenges, ranging from extreme poverty to lack of a stable adult presence in their lives. Yet the country produces nowhere near 2.7 million volunteer mentors.
“A shortage of mentors is always the most difficult problem,” said Ann Adalist-Estrin, director of the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.
Boys with incarcerated parents are especially hard to match. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, they constitute the vast majority on waiting lists, and only 30 percent of mentors for children of prisoners are men.
–G. Jeffrey MacDonald in the June 13, 2012, Christian Century, page 12