Children of the Addicted & Incarcerated

 

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Parental incarceration and addiction both have a devastating impact on children and teens. It is a stressful and traumatic experience. In the case of incarceration, the trauma it inflicts is sometimes referred to as a shared sentence. Having an incarcerated parent is a loss that is not socially acceptable which can compound a child’s grief and confusion drastically.

It is believed that the trauma, domestic disruption, and the corrosive disconnect that builds during a long-term absence of an incarcerated parent increases the likelihood for the child to also become involved with the criminal justice system later in life. A similar scenario presents itself for those children who have to witness one or both parents engaging in substance abuse.

The Sanctuary

Our farm is a small slice of heaven. The place itself and all our rescued farm animals exude peace that envelops everyone who visits with its gentle warmth. The atmosphere is healing and allows children as well as adults to forget their worries for a while, destress, regroup, and even gain some new insights into oneself via guided interactions with our animals.

One grandparent raising a child due to parental addiction is saying this about our program:

“During our visits at Good Acres Sanctuary, Connor is so happy and at peace. He is not thinking about missing his parents. He is able to control his behavior in a loving calm way. He really loves the animals and the atmosphere. We are blessed to be involved with such a wonderful program.”

 

Child Visits to the Farm

During the warm months of the year, we regularly have special open hours during which you can just spontaneously come out for a visit. We call those special open hours, ‘Open Barn’. Watch our Cow-lendar of Events for such times. Visits during ‘Open Barn’ hours are free of charge but a donation will be greatly appreciated. Donations help us offset the enormous expenses of running a sanctuary and making its programs available to individuals like you and the community at large. You can make a donation via credit card at The Good Store.

Children and teens who are struggling with the trauma of an addicted or incarcerated parent often benefit from special private time spent at the farm among the animals. Such visits usually last 1 hour each during which the guardian remains present unless otherwise discussed. During the farm visit one qualified adult will spend time with the child interacting with the animals. These visits are not therapy in the sense of medical treatment. However, they often have a therapeutic effect because the light hearted environment of the animals encourages the troubled young person to temporarily forget all problems at home and rediscover a pure sense of joy. Children who won’t talk about what ails them to a family member or therapist will sometimes share their worries with one of the animals and experience a great sense of relief as a result. Children often quickly realize without an adult having to tell them that this farm can be their very own personal sanctuary where they can come and let their guard down and just be.

If you have a child who might benefit from being a part of this program, please contact us at farmoffice@goodacres.us   There is a charge for the individual farm visits/sessions. However, we will work with low-income families to find sponsors to partially or fully cover the cost for a particular child.