Looking out upon the worshippers at New Era Church in downtown Indianapolis, Rev. Dr. Clarence C. Moore sees row after row of families facing difficult challenges stemming from a pressing statewide problem: the over-incarceration of black people. Indiana ranks second in the country for the number of children who have an incarcerated parent. As a result, many children live in single-parent households or foster care, and live in poverty. Many lack a formal education until they reach kindergarten—and so they aren’t ready when they get there. They struggle, many ultimately drop out of school, and the vicious cycle continues.
“I tell my congregation that there is nothing wrong with these seeds—these children,” Rev. Moore says. “It’s the soil these seeds are planted in that is the problem.”
Cultivating that soil through quality early education is the focus of a new project to help children of incarcerated parents thrive, and to keep these children—now and in the future—out of prison. The project team pairs early childhood researchers with a faith and justice leader to create solutions grounded in evidence and shaped by the community.
This team is part of Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, one of four new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national leadership programs that just announced their first classes of participants.
These programs recognize that creating lasting change and building a Culture of Health requires leadership from every field and profession—within health and far beyond. Through leadership development, collaboration and funding for innovative projects, the programs will break down silos and find outside-the-box solutions.
[For more of this story, written by Pam S. Dickinson, go to http://www.rwjf.org/en/culture...QA&et_cid=670722]