Welcome to See Us, Support Us (SUSU), a month of awareness raising and activities to increase visibility and supports for children of incarcerated parents launched in 2015 by The New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP). Since then, national partners have joined us to amplify SUSU in their communities. Despite the fact that one in 9 African American children, one in 28 Latinx children, and one in 57 white children have an incarcerated parent, many do not SEE children of incarcerated parents. This invisibility isolates and harms children and hinders service providers, educators, and communities from supporting children and families to their best ability. Through the course of NYCIP's efforts to advance policies and practices that support children whose parents are involved in the criminal legal system, we often heard "we don't serve those children." When children of incarcerated parents were acknowledged, untruthful stereotypes and harmful narratives were often used. And thus, SUSU was born to raise awareness and celebrate children and youth who will thrive and succeed when they receive SUPPORT.
This year, SUSU focuses on supporting children’s educational success and wellbeing from early childhood through college. We especially encourage all who work in educational settings and after school programs to follow SUSU on social media, participate in virtual events, and explore the SUSU Educator Toolkit, but everyone can benefit from engaging in SUSU. Visit Voices from SUSU to hear directly from young people about how best to support them and to celebrate their creative talents. We encourage young people to follow SUSU to find community with others who have experienced parental incarceration or to learn how to be an ally. Follow SUSU on social media and use the SUSU social media guide to elevate the issue of parental incarceration among your networks. Please share the SUSU Overview widely and encourage people to follow SUSU this October.
NYCIP, a special project of the Osborne Association's Center for Justice Across Generations, is a statewide partnership launched in 2006 of community and faith-based organizations, families with lived experience, and government agencies collaborating to envision a world that considers and safeguards children’s needs at every step of their parent’s involvement in the criminal legal system. We move closer to realizing this vision by centering the experiences of youth and families affected by parental incarceration and advocating for policies and practices that will turn the Children of Incarcerated Parents’ Bill of Rights into reality. Learn more about the SUSU national partners here.