Incarcerated Parents

incarcerated_parents | Volunteer Resources | Legal | Incarcerated Parents
Children who have parents who are incarcerated have special needs. As a CASA volunteer, it is important to understand those needs and advocate for the visitation, information, therapy, and other services that support your child.
It is essential to think of the child’s needs when there is a parent who is incarcerated. As a CASA volunteer you should be investigating the issue and thinking about what is best for the child.

Things to think about:

  • Visitation should not be overlooked or dismissed just because it is inconvenient or expensive.
  • The child may be experiencing shame or stress that is directly related to the parents incarceration. Therapeutic services should address any need.
  • The child / youth will often have a lot of questions regarding where the parent is, and if they are safe, and what will happen to them. These questions should be answered to the best of everyone’s ability.
  • Just because the parent is convicted of a crime, it does not mean that they were a neglectful parent – or that the child does not love them deeply.

Here are some helpful resources:

Kinship Care When Parents Are Incarcerated: What We Know, What We Can Do
Presents an excellent overview of the issue of Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Transportation to Visits When the Child’s Parent is Incarcerated 2010
Article by Phil Ladew that discusses how CASA volunteers can advocate for visitation between children and their incarcerated parents.

CalCASA Children of Incarcerated Parents Curriculum 2010
CalCASA’s CIP curriculum developed for volunteer training.

How to explain Jails and Prisons to Children — A Caregiver’s Guide
Booklet to help caregivers explain to children what it is like to have a family member who is incarcerated.

Children of Incarcerated Parents
A fact sheet created by Casey Family Programs.