New group aims to help children with an incarcerated parent 

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ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Family Service of the Roanoke Valley is starting a new support group that aims to help children with an incarcerated parent.

According to a study performed by the Pew Charitable Trust, one in 28 children have a parent in jail.

Melissa Hays-Smith, a child therapist at Family Service, says she sees local children struggle with having a parent incarcerated. She says children with a parent in jail or prison are more at risk for developing behavioral problems.

Those problems can lead to struggles both in school and at home.

Organizers say the new group aims to show kids how they can make healthy choices and cope emotionally.

The support group begins August 4, 2015. It's free and open to middle schoolers.

To register for the support group or for more information, you're asked to contact Melissa Hays-Smith at (540) 563-5316, ext. 3064 or mhays-smith@fsrv.org.

Registration ends July 28 for the first session. Family Service is accepting ongoing referrals.