Dear ESME Sisters,
As the daughter of a Solo Mom, I recognize the challenges of Solo Moms and parents, and as a former social worker, I’ve provided and managed services for families involved in the juvenile- and criminal-justice systems. Many of these individuals had histories of substance abuse that resulted in their incarceration, and several families included children who followed in those footsteps. Like most parents, these people worried about their children and wanted them to have better lives and more options than they had.
Solo Moms and parents want the best for their children, no matter what kind of decisions or mistakes their children make—even when their children are arrested and go to jail. As a matter of fact, this is probably the time when children need their Solo Moms and parents the most.
When the war on drugs started in 1971 under the Nixon administration, many were trying to “free society of drugs.” However, the major policy changes didn’t take effect until the 1980s under the Reagan administration, resulting in a spike of incarceration, especially for the poor and people of color. Mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession coupled with poverty in marginalized communities created a recidivism cycle that destroyed families and communities. The ongoing surveillance of certain individuals continues to feed this cycle.
Solo Moms and parents need to understand the impact of this war on drugs, as there has been a cataclysmic effect on the most vulnerable people in society, especially our youth. The war on drugs created the mechanism for many adults and youth to be targeted for arrest whether they were involved with drugs or not. Most of the youth involved in the juvenile-justice system had struggled in life before their involvement. However, even for youth who didn’t have serious issues before their involvement, it is likely that they will develop issues once they are arrested, detained, or incarcerated.
ESME understands the needs of Solo Moms and parents who have children and loved ones involved in the justice system. Having a place to go for information, advice, and support from other solo parents is key. The justice system is scary, complex, and overwhelming—you might have questions about what to do first, need advice on finding legal representation, or want tips on how best to support your child while he or she is away. ESME covers all the bases.
Sometimes Solo Moms just need to interact with people who can relate to their stories and circumstances. ESME provides assistance in this area, too.
Welcome to the ESME family—we hope you find what you need here with us.