Resources Produced for Youth, Parents, Caregivers and Child Welfare Agencies

A Behavioral Health Toolkit for Working With Children of the Incarcerated and Their Families (2010)
This toolkit, developed by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, includes tools for professionals, information for youth and caregivers, and research on interventions.

My Life Choose Me - A Young Mother's Guide to Surviving the System (filesize: 5.8MB)
This 84-page manual was written by the Center for Young Womenís Development and funded by the Zellerbach Family Foundation. The purpose of this manual is to assist young mothers incarcerated and in the juvenile justice system understand their parental rights in the public child welfare system.

Family Group Decision Making Helps Prison Inmates Reintegrate into Society (2009)
Written by Deni Thurman-Eyer and Laura Mirsky for the International Institute for Restorative Practice, this article addresses restorative family group decision making/family group conferencing programs in prisons in Adams County, Pennsylvania, USA and in Hungary.

Family Members Behind Bars: Difficult Questions Children Ask ... and Answers That Might Help A Caregiver's Guide to Montana's Criminal Justice System - From Arrest to Release (2009)
Produced by the Montana Alliance of Families Touched by Incarceration, this 52-pages manual assists caregivers of children with family members behind bars.

Out of the Shadows ó What Child Welfare Workers Can do to Help Children and their Incarcerated Parents (Spring 2008)
Produced by the Northern California Training Academy, this 12-page newsletter provides an introduction to the California prison system, talks about the importance of visiting, challenges facing child welfare administrators, and resources available to help child welfare staff and families.

The National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated
Through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated at the Families and Corrections Network provides an information gateway for those interested in improving the lives and conditions of children and families impacted by the criminal justice system. The website includes a directory of programs serving families of adult offenders and an extensive, internet-based children of prisoners English and Spanish library.

Incarcerated Parents Manual: Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities (2007)
Produced and Distributed by Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and Prisoner Legal Services, this manual is written for a parent in jail or prison and designed to answer many of the legal and practical questions that parents have about custody of their children, both during and after incarceration. For additional information on Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, visit:

Pennsylvania General Assembly - Resolution to Study the Effects of Parental Incarceration on Children (2009)
Regular Session 2009-2010, House Resolution 203, this short resolution directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to study the effects of parental incarceration on children of incarcerated parents; to recommend a system for determining and assessing the needs of children of incarcerated parents, services available to them, and barriers to accessing those services; and making a report with recommendations to the House of Representatives by November 30, 2010.

California Senate Committee on Resolution 20 (Senator Liu) - Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights
This measure would encourage designated entities to distribute the Children of Incarcerated Parents Bill of Rights to identified children of incarcerated parents, and to invite discussion and encourage relevant departments to use the bill of rights as a framework for analysis and determination of procedures when making decisions about services for these children.

California Bar Association - Seniors and the Law (2009)
The California Bar Association has information on important laws for seniors at risk of poverty and unmet legal needs, including information on Social Security benefits and returning to work, rights regarding visitation and custody of grandchildren, Medi-Cal benefits and nursing homes. The Paid Family Leave collaborative is one of the many free resources features in the free booklet.
Spanish version

When a Child Needs a Home: A Handbook for Relatives and Friends (2009)
This handbook was created by the the Washington County Department of Social Services, New York.

How to explain Jails and Prisons to Children ó A Caregiver's Guide
Developed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and Friends Outside, this booklet was produced to help caregivers explain to children what it is like to have a family member who is incarcerated.

How to Explain Jails and Prisons to Children: A Caregiver's Guide (2001)
Written by Elizabeth Sazie, Diane Ponder, and Juanita Johnson of the Oregon Department of Corrections, this guide provides answers to children's questions regarding jails and prisons. Topics addressed in this booklet include: definitions, families, feelings and emotions, common questions, notes for caregivers, notes for children, a diagram entitled "How Do I Feel Today?" to help children identify their feelings.

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) - Information for Grandparents Raising their Grandchildren
The AARP website includes a webpage with valuable information on finding health insurance, securing legal fees and finances, and tuition help. A link to AARP's Foundation Money Management plan is especially useful for grandparents experiencing financial troubles. The newest addition to this webpage is AARP's Benefits QuickLINK. This tool can help grandparents raising grandchildren find out if they or the children in their care qualify for any of the 15 benefits included in the tool. Examples of benefits include Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Income. The QuickLINK takes about 20 minutes to use and provides tailored information about eligibility for specific public benefits.

Get on the Bus Program and Chowchilla Family Express
Funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, these two programs offer FREE bus services to bring children and their caregivers to visit the prisons throughout California.

Florida Manual for Incarcerated Parents (2008)
Written by Virginia Hammer, Attorney at Law, Equal Justice Works Fellow, and Mikayla Bucci, Florida Bar Foundation Fellow, this manual is designed to help parents who are incarcerated in Florida prisons and jails understand their rights and responsibilities as parents. Some of the issues covered in this manual include: setting up a caregiver for your child, temporary legal custody by a relative caregiver, formal guardianship, pregnancy in jail or prison, dependency, termination of parental rights, visitation, paternity, child support, divorce, and public benefits.

Rise - A Magazine By and For Parents in the Child Welfare System (Summer 2008)
In this issue, parents in prison write about their efforts to stay connected to their children in foster care and to reunify after release.

Visiting Tips for Families: Supporting Children Visiting their Parents (2007)
Produced by the Osborne Association, NYC Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Itís My Life: A Young Motherís Guide to Surviving the System
Produced by Baby Mamas United: A Project of the Center for Young Womenís Development, this guide, written by and for teen mothers, answers common questions and help young mothers understand their rights. Topics include understanding the complex legal court and legal system (i.e. family, probate, dependency, detention, jurisdictional hearing, dispositional hearing), child welfare terms (reunification, custody, guardianship, power of attorney and caregiver affidavit), and finally understanding the incarceration process (arrest, incarceration, rights during incarceration).

Resource Guide for Teens with a Parent in Jail or Prison
Produced by Project WHAT (May 2007), the guide, written by and for teenagers and young people in the Bay Area, answers common questions that children have when a parent is incarcerated. It has information that explains complex jail and prison visiting procedures in plain language. It also includes compelling stories written by youth, along with a CD of the stories read aloud.

The Forgotten Voices - A Newsletter of the Alliance for Tennessee's Children of Prisoners (TCP), September 2007 (Nashville, TN)
This four-page newsletter is a product of TCP, an educational initiative under the auspices of the Open Society Institute to support The National Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents
Developed by the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, the bill of rights was endorsed in 2005 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and urges relevant city agencies to work together towards its implentation to reduce recidivism for parents and improve outcome for children.

All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated
Available at local bookstores, Journalist Nell Bernstein puts a face on this population with staggering statistics and personal stories of children like Susana, who has embraced her father only once in her life, and Carl, who told the jailhouse Santa that all he wanted for Christmas was for his mother to come home. Parents and children speak about the trauma of prison visits, the expensive phone calls that cut off without warning and the questions from children. Well researched and smoothly written, Bernstein's book pumps up awareness of the problems, provides a checklist for what needs to be done and also cites organizations like the Osborne Society that provide parenting and literacy classes, counseling and support. Excerpt of a Review from Publishers Weekly.

What Do Children of Prisoners and their Caregivers Need? (2003)
Written by Ann Adalist-Estrin, Children of Prisoners Library, Family and Corrections Network

Visiting Mom or Dad: The Child's Perspective (2003)
Written by Ann Adalist-Estrin, Children of Prisoners Library, Family and Corrections Network