Empowering congregation through the unveiling of the inner-city teen mother entwined in the systems of incarceration

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In 2010, there were roughly 614,000 babies born in the U.S. to teen girls between the ages of 15 and 191. In 2014 in the U.S., there were an estimated 2.5 million minor children with a parent in jail2. The demographic makeup for both these statistics is overwhelmingly disproportionate by race. Studying parenting from detention, authors Sara Wakefield and Christopher Wildeman wrote, “Mass imprisonment has transformed racial inequality among children, with implications for the future of inequality in America3.” They suggest that society’s children are exposed to potentially detrimental effects when in contact with the systems of incarceration. Imagine those implications when we consider a pregnant teen within those statistics. Imagine daily life for teen mothers and their children as they navigate the systems of incarceration. In this dissertation project, which I now know to be the ministry I was born to pursue, my team and I will create a public awareness campaign intended to expose this very fragile group. We recommend that they comprise a uniquely committed sub-community. They are worthy of the attention because helping them provides intervention for a perpetuating racial disparity at its nascent state. They are worthy of the attention because they typify the historical assembly of churches, and are therefore the modern congregation offering hope for our society.  
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