Nearly three million children under the age of 18 have a parent in jail or prison, and millions more have experienced their parents being arrested. Due to their parent’s criminal justice involvement, a growing body of research indicates that these children often experience trauma, family disruption, and the loss of their primary caregiver, which can lead to financial hardship, residential instability, and an array of emotional and behavioral problems.
In response, several community-based organizations and government agencies across the country have implemented programs and practices aimed at reducing this trauma and mitigating the potentially harmful outcomes associated with parental criminal justice involvement. The Urban Institute and the National Institute of Corrections hosted a live webinar highlighting these promising and innovative programs and practices.
Urban also released four products that complement the webinar sessions and aim to guide criminal justice organizations and stakeholders in developing and implementing promising practices for children of justice-involved parents. The products include three toolkits on parental arrest policies, family-focused jail programs, and family impact statements, as well as a framework document that synthesizes what we have learned about promising practices and provides information about the context surrounding children and their families. The products provide key challenges and recommendations for the field and help organizations and stakeholders (1) understand the importance, scope, and effect of the issues facing children of justice-involved parents; (2) learn how to talk about these issues with their constituencies; and (3) appreciate how changes in practice can make meaningful differences by strengthening the relationship between children and their parents and reducing the trauma children experience when their parents are arrested, detained, and sentenced.
webinar session recordings
- Focuses on protocols that police departments can use to manage the arrest of a parent to minimize the trauma and harm to their children.
- Focuses on how probation departments can use family impact statements in their presentence investigation reports to account for the needs of family and children.
- Focuses on a few family-focused programs and services that jail administrators can offer to parents in their jails to help them stay connected to their family and children.
- Provides information on how to collaboratively think about and address the many issues facing children of incarcerated parents, using a diverse group of interested stakeholders.