Children who are disconnected and disengaged from their families and community are more likely to feel unloved and engage in violence, according to Mindi Goodpaster, Public Policy and Advocacy Director for the Marion County Commission on Youth.
“When they have adults that care about them and can help guide them, they’re more likely to make better decisions,” said Goodpaster. “Gangs are the result of children who have no positive supports or influences in their life and that’s what the gang provides them.”
Goodpaster said when families can’t provide food and clothing for their children, it causes a great deal of stress.
“It can result in children stealing food or stealing things to provide for their family,” said Goodpaster. “If you have a child who is chronically hungry and tired, it has a significant impact on their mood to critically think.”
In other words, children who are loved and well-fed and clothed, are more likely to make good decisions and less likely to engage in violence.