Issue 40 | May 2016
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Parental Incarceration
A Note from the Director
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 2014, there were an estimated 6,851,000 individuals under the supervision of U.S. adult corrections systems. Just over 2 million of those individuals were inmates in state and federal prisons or local jails. While this represents a slight decrease from the previous year; it also represents a 2% increase in female offenders sentenced to more than a year. Overall, these statistics represent a staggering number of individuals and families affected by incarceration. The financial, social, and emotional challenges faced by these families from the point of incarceration through reentry are complex and difficult. Conflicting feelings about the parent’s absence, family dynamics, and societal perceptions can be particularly difficult for the children involved. We hope the tips and resources highlighted in this newsletter will be helpful to you and the families you serve in supporting children and families impacted by incarceration.

Best regards,

Robyn Cenizal, CFLE
Project Director
Tips of the Month
Incarceration is stressful and challenging for both the incarcerated individual and his or her family. Yet reentry back into family life can be just as challenging. Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” for families during reentry from Maricopa County Adult Probation, shared on a 2013 Resource Center Webinar.

  • Give the family time to adjust
  • Understand that coming home can provoke anxiety
  • Discuss parenting strategies
  • Make unrealistic demands
  • Assume the individual won't have problems rejoining society
  • Use conflicting parenting styles
Featured Resources
The Resource Center's Virtual Library has collected approximately 1,200 materials in a variety of formats including fact sheets, research-to-practice briefs, brochures, pamphlets, training resources, program reports or evaluations, and research materials.
Select the links below to view our featured May resources:
  •  Strengthening Incarcerated Families through Healthy Relationship Education, September 23, 2015 (Webinar)
This webinar discussed how healthy relationship education can help incarcerated individuals and their families by giving them the skills to cope with incarceration and become stronger as a family. Promising practices from two state agencies were highlighted, as well free resources and technical assistance opportunities to help service providers integrate relationship education into their work with these families.

  •  Healthy Relationships, Employment, and Reentry (Research Brief)
This research brief explains how healthy relationship education can improve employment prospects, help formerly incarcerated individuals transition during reentry, and reduce recidivism in the future. The brief includes lessons learned from practitioners who use these interrelated ideas to help formerly incarcerated individuals and their families and makes recommendations for service providers who want to do the same.

  •  Life Beyond Bars: Children with an Incarcerated Parent (Fact Sheet)
This fact sheet explains why parental incarceration matters for children and families. It reviews the demographics of incarcerated parents and their children and discusses the possible lifelong impact of parental incarceration on children. Tips for talking to children whose parents are incarcerated are also included.

  •  Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration (Toolkit)
The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers. It can bring about big changes and transitions. This web-based toolkit from Sesame Workshop provides resources for providers and caregivers to support children during the incarceration of a loved one.

The Resource Center's Events Calendar offers a listing of Resource Center events and other national, regional, and community-wide events that might be of interest. Upcoming events include:
  •  National Association of Workforce Development Professionals Annual Conference in Orlando, FL, May 24-26, 2016
Conference attendees are workforce professionals from across the nation, including One-Stop Center/AJC Staff, Job Developers, Reentry Specialists, Youth Build Grantees, Community College Representatives, Job Corps Professionals, Senior Community and Employment Service Providers, Business and Employer Representatives, WIB Executive Directors, Career and Guidance Counselors, Juvenile Justice Specialists, Educators, and Trainers.

Plan on attending the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals Conference? Be sure to visit the exhibit hall and the Resource Center table!

  •  Registration Deadline Approaching: OPRE Research and Evaluation Conference on Self-Sufficiency (RECS) in Washington, DC, June 1-3, 2016
For nearly 20 years, the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has convened researchers, state and local administrators, practitioners, and federal officials and policymakers to discuss cutting-edge research on family self-sufficiency and social welfare programs and policies. The 2016 RECS will provide another opportunity to gather in DC and hear the latest findings from evaluations of social welfare programs and policies, discuss ways to incorporate findings into the design and implementation of programs, and develop strategies for future evaluations. Online registration deadline is May 13th.
Feedback and Technical Assistance
If you have suggestions or wish to speak with a Resource Center staff member, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you. If you would like to request technical assistance, please submit a Training and Technical Assistance Request Form and our Technical Assistance Coordinator will contact you.
To learn more about the Resource Center visit us at
The National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families supports safety-net service providers as they integrate healthy marriage and relationship education skills into service delivery systems as part of a comprehensive, culturally appropriate, family-centered approach designed to promote self-sufficiency.

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Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: 90FH0003. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031
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