It has been estimated that more than 1.5 million children have at least one parent in the criminal justice system. More than half of the 1.4 million adults incarcerated in state or federal prisons are parents of minor children. As one could imagine, continuity of parent-child relationships is extremely difficult to achieve under these circumstances. Moreover, this dynamic affects the familial support networks and places new burdens on government institutions including schools, foster care and adoption agencies, and other youth-serving agencies.
As the hidden costs of record numbers of prisoners with children are realized, more and more states and the federal government have begun to seek ways to curb the tremendous impact of this nation's criminal justice policies. More importantly, many organizations are finding ways to work directly with the impacted children, their parents, and when possible the extended family system to help lessen the negative developmental impact on the children, and to prepare children and families for the parent's release.
Patterns of Criminal Conviction and Incaceration Among Mothers of Children in Foster Care in New York City By Miriam Ehrensaft, Ahjay Khashu, Timothy Ross, and Mark Wamsley Published by: Vera Institute of Justice & NYC Adminitration for Children's Services December 2003 Click here to download report (PDF file - 34 pages).
Federal Resource Center for Children of Prisoners ... conducts research and evaluation, collects and disseminates information, provides training and technical assistance, and increases awareness among the many disciplines and services systems that come into contact with families separated by incarceration. Click here to visit website.
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