Policy and Research

Throwaway Moms: Maternal Incarceration and the Criminalization of Female Poverty (2010)
Written by Suzanne Allen, Chris Flaherty and Gretchen Ely for the Journal of Women and Social Work, this article reports the findings from interviews with incarcerated mothers regarding the effects of incarceration on their relationships with their children. The participants related personal histories characterized by poverty, victimization, chronic substance addiction, and repeated failed attempts at sobriety. Many felt betrayed by the courts and child protective services, and those who had lost custody of their children felt they had no remaining reason to rehabilitate themselves.

Children of Incarcerated Parents: An Action Plan for Federal Policymakers (2009)
Written by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, this policy report reviews both federal and state barriers to identifying and serving children of incarcerated parents. It offers policy recommendations for the U.S. Congress and the Administration, as well as state and local governments.

Children and Families of the Incarcerated (2009)
Written by the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated, this fact sheet provides facts that are key to understanding both the needs of the children and families of the incarcerated and the obstacles they face in their lives.

Children of Incarcerated Parents (2009)
Written by Steve Christian for the National Conference of State Legislatures, this report provides general background information and poises a series of questions to child welfare, law enforcement, corrections, education, and others regarding the well-being of children whose parents in incarcerated.

CW 360: A Comprehensive Look at a Prevalent Child Welfare Issue - Children of Incarcerated Parents (Spring 2006)
Published by the University of Minnesota, Center for Advance Studies in Child Welfare, this issue is focused specifically on children of incarcerated parents, with articles on practice, collaborations, racial disparities, and many others.

Women in Prison Fact Sheet (2007)
Written by Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers, this fact sheet provides statistics about women in prison and mothers in prison.

Making "The Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents" a Reality: Evaluation Report (2008)
Written by Susan D. Phillips, Ph.D., of the Jane Addams College of Social Work, this evaluation reveals the successes and challenges that eleven states have encountered in their efforts to support policy and paractice changes in promoting the Bill of Rights of Children of Incarcereated Parents.

What we Know Now that we Didn’t Know Then about the Criminal Justice Systems’ Involvement in Families with whom Child Welfare Agencies have Contact
Written by Susan Phillips, University of Illinois at Chicago, Research Brief – Children, Families, and the Criminal Justice System (July 2007).

Broken Bonds: Understanding and Addressing the Needs of Children with Incarcerated Parents
Released by the Urban Institute (2008), this report reviews the current research on children with incarcerated parents, and offers recommendations on how to reduce the negative impact of parental incarceration. The authors of the report pay particular attention to the influence that supportive relationships with the incarcerated parent and other adults has on children’s outcomes.

Understanding the Experiences and Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents: Views from Mentors
Created by the Urban Institute (2008), researchers collaborated with mentors from Big Brothers, Big Sisters organizations to gather qualitative data through the use of focus groups with the mentors of children whose parents are incarcerated. The group discussions focused on the children’s living situations, relationships with their parents, and emotional and behavioral outcomes.

Parental Incarceration and Child Well-being in Fragile Families
Produced by the Columbia School of Social Work (2008), in this policy brief, the authors highlight findings from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study. The study explores the extent to which children of incarcerated parents are at a greater risk for material hardship, family instability, and developmental challenges.

Prisoners as Parents: The Importance of Strong Parent-Child Relationships During Parental Incarceration (2006)
This 23-page article by Katy Califa is written for the California Sentencing and Corrections Policy Series/Stanford Criminal Justice Center Working Papers.

Prisoners as Parents: The Importance of Strong Parent-Child Relationships During Parental Incarceration (2006)
This 23-page article is written by Katy Califa for the California Sentencing and Corrections Policy Series, Stanford Criminal Justice Center Working Papers.

In Danger of Falling Through the Cracks: Children of Arrested Parents
Written by Marcus Nieto (April, 2002), the California Research Bureau gathers information about local law enforcement and child protective services policies and procedures relative to the children of arrested parents. California local police and county sheriff's departments and county child protective services agencies were surveyed and the findings suggest that the children of arrested and incarcerated parents, mothers and fathers, in California are in danger of being left in unsafe situations.

Keeping Children Safe When Their Parents are Arrested: Local Approaches That Work
Written by Ginny Puddefoot, MPH, MPP, and Lisa K. Foster, MSW, MPA (July, 2007), children are often overlooked when their parents are arrested, but they are traumatized by the impact of the arrest. Recent legislation encourages a coordinated response by law enforcement and child welfare services, and requires the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training to develop guidelines and training for use by law enforcement officers encountering children at an arrest scene.

California Law and the Children of Prisoners
Written by Charlene Wear Simmons, Ph.D. (February, 2003), this report examines California law as it touches on the lives of prisoners and their children. Most prisoners are parents, making the state's criminal justice system an unwitting but important participant in the lives of their families.

California State Prisoners With Children: Findings From the 1997 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities
Written by M. Anne Powell, M.S.W. and Clare Nolan, M.P.P. (November, 2003), this report presents information on the characteristics of parents incarcerated in California state prisons and investigates differences between incarcerated mothers and fathers, between incarcerated parents and other inmates.

Children of Arrested Parents: Strategies to Improve Their Safety and Well-Being
Created by Clare M. Nolan (July, 2003), this report examines issues pertinent to the safety and well-being of children affected by the arrest of a custodial parents. As many as 13 percent of all adult felony arrests in California involve a custodial parent caring for minor-age children. Arresting officers are not mandated to report children at risk of being left without care or supervision to Child Protective Services. In some extreme cases, children may be left completely alone to care for themselves or may be placed with inappropriate and harmful caretakers. The report reviews promising practices and presents a framework for developing future policies and programs.

When Rescue is Urgent: Children in Shelter Placement for Seven Days or Less
Written in 2001 by Esther Wattenberg, Professor of Social Work, University of Minnesota, this paper examines the circumstances of the 1,306 children in Hennepin County who were removed under urgent situations and placed, for seven days or less, in emergency shelter care. This study examines the circumstances of children who are removed from their families under emergency situations, their demographic profiles, and exit information following their shelter care. Two research questions guided this study: Is placement in a shelter the least intrusive response for the safety needs of children in emergency situations? And, can we capture and clarify the working relationship between child protection workers and local law enforcement officers?

Child Protection Best Practice Bulletins - Connecting Children with Incarcerated Parents
As a result of the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Welfare of Children of Jailed and Incarcerated Parents, a statewide standard of law enforcement was developed in New Mexico that requires identification of all minor children upon parental arrest. This four-page bulletin advocates best practice to ensure that children are cared for and informed, have access to services, and are able to have contact with their incarcerated parents.

Out of the Shadows: What Child Welfare Workers Can Do to Help Children and their Incarcerated Parents (Spring 2008)
This issue of the Reaching Out newsletter, produced by the Northern California Training Academy, provides information to help child welfare workers better understand and address the mandated responsibilities of working with families when a parent is incarcerated and children are in foster care. Children have the right to regular contact with their incarcerated parents, and incarcerated parents have the right to continue to parent their children, yet accommodating these rights can be a real challenge for child welfare workers and foster parents.

Using Local Data to Explore the Experiences and Needs of Incarcerated Parents
Written by Diana Brazzell and produced by the Urban Institute (May, 2008), this report presents the findings and lessons learned through three organizations - the Allegheny Department of Human Services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Providence Plan in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Chapin Hall Center for Children in Chicago, Illinois. The purpose of the work was to learn more about the impact of parental incarceration, as well as to explore the possibilities for using criminal justice and human services data to understand the population of affected children.

Building Bonds from the Inside Out
Written by Elizabeth Craig (December 2006), this newsletter describes the family programs at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon. Considered a national model, Oregon's only womens' institution offers several programs and services that concentrate on parenting inmates for reunion with their children. To strengthen the mother-child relationship, the prison includes an on-site Early Head Start Program for children ages 0 to 3 who spend time with their parent in a healthy child development center on prison grounds.

Judicial Oversight of Parental Visitation in Reunification Cases (2003)
This article from the Juvenile and Family Court Journal explores the issue of visitation between a child and parents in the context of child protection proceedings. It concludes that visitation between a child and parents often occurs too infrequently; as a result, the relationship between the child and parents can be damaged, the child can suffer further trauma, and the chances for successful family reunification may be reduced. Judges and social service agencies can and must improve both the quality and quantity of parent-child visitation.

Making The Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents a Reality
This document was produced by the Jane Addams College of Social Work. Through technical assistance provided by the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, groups across the county worked on developing practice and policy changes designed to make the Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents a reality.