When she was a baby, Kayla Bowyer of Pittsburgh was adopted by her grandparents because her mother was in and out of Allegheny County Jail.
Her grandfather died when she was 10 and her ‘Grams' had to go to work to support Bowyer, her younger brother and three cousins.
Though the presence of adults in her home changed, she was not alone.
In 2004, she and her brother were matched with Yolanda and Ron Bennett through Amachi Pittsburgh, a nonprofit organization that pairs mentors with children of an incarcerated parent.
“Our mentors were husband and wife. And so sometimes … we would all be together. It was kind of like a second family,” said Bowyer, now 24.
An estimated 1.7 million children in the country have a parent in prison, according to a new report from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Millions more may have a parent in county jail.
In Pennsylvania, about 81,100 children have a parent in state prison, according to the latest data from the state’s Department of Corrections. Those numbers do not include children with parents in federal prisons or county jails.