Parental incarceration and the disruption of family relationships can produce negative outcomes for children, including poverty, poor academic performance, aggression, depression, delinquency, and substance abuse. Incarcerated mothers and fathers are unable to work on parenting skills that may be necessary for reunification, and separation interferes with the ability of parent and child to form or maintain a strong attachment.
Family-centered services for incarcerated parents, their children, and families focus on parenting programs, family strengthening activities, nurturing of family relationships, community supports for families during incarceration and following release, and gender-specific interventions. Link to Child Welfare Information Gateway Resource Page on Incarcerated Parents
See Also: Similar Link for Foster Children of Incarcerated Parents
March 29, 2012, American Bar Association: Acknowledging the significance of the child-parent relationship is the starting point for creating best practices for children. This follow-up article to the previous article, A Voice for the Young Child with an Incarcerated Parent, offers three case studies presented by attorneys/guardians ad litem (GAL) with an accompanying mental-health analysis of each. Link to Article
January 9, 2012, American Bar Association: “When a parent goes to prison, they never go alone . . . Their children go with them.” This introduction to a video produced by the Children’s Justice Alliance shines light on the often-ignored needs of children with incarcerated parents. It is well documented that adverse childhood experiences, including the incarceration of a household member, are linked to a host of health and social problems.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. Brain research of the past three decades concludes that a child’s brain is wired for relationship. All future child development cascades from the quality of the first and most important relationship between parent and child. That relationship exists for good or ill in the absence or the presence of the parent. When children are separated from their parent due to incarceration, their lives are greatly affected by the array of systems surrounding the family, including, at times, the child welfare system. It is important that the child not be overlooked and that the systems surrounding the family recognize the significance of the child-parent relationship. Link to Article