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Promoting Social and Emotional Well-Being for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Publication Year: 
Corporate Author: 
United States. Federal Interagency Working Group for Children of Incarcerated Parents.
Federal Publication/Policy
Page Count: 

This federally funded report explains the impact of parental incarceration on the well-being of children and strategies that can be used by government programs and other services to address their potentially unique social and emotional needs. It begins by discussing the financial hardship faced by families after the incarceration of a parent, as well as challenges children of incarcerated parents have with attachment and relationship skills, social stigma, negative behavioral responses, trauma, and compounding risks. Findings from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study are shared that indicate the impact of negative events experienced early in life with later adult health outcomes. The following section of the report describes effective trauma-informed approaches to serving children of incarcerated parents and their families, including: ensuring jail and prison visiting conditions are sensitive to the needs of children; offering opportunities for incarcerated parents to increase their parenting capacities; promoting opportunities for positive communication between incarcerated parents and their children where appropriate; and working to facilitate a parent’s involvement in his/her child’s schooling where appropriate. The need for coordinated services that focusing on the social and emotional well-being of children and youth with incarcerated parents is then emphasized and key components are described that include understanding and anticipating the challenges that children of prisoners face, considering how services are structured and delivered for young people along a continuum of need, building capacity to deliver evidence-based or otherwise promising interventions with demonstrated results, and examining and reevaluating policies that may impact children of incarcerated parents. Federal databases of evidence-based interventions are listed. 26 references.

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