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January 2002Vol. 3, No. 1Justice Department Establishes Resource Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Sending parents to jail has serious implications for the health and well-being of large numbers of children. In the United States, more than 2 million children have an incarcerated parent--double the number since 1991. Children of incarcerated parents often experience stressful shifts in caregivers, separation from their siblings, loss of contact with parents, and emotional and behavioral difficulties.

To aid these children, the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Corrections (NIC) awarded the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) a grant in September for $1.1 million over a period of 3 years to operate a new Federal Resource Center for Children of Prisoners. The mission of the Washington, D.C.-based Center will be to:

  • Conduct research and evaluation
  • Collect and disseminate information
  • Provide training and technical assistance
  • Increase awareness among the many disciplines and service systems that come in contact with families separated by incarceration.

"We welcome the opportunity to participate with NIC and our partners in the important work of developing better resources and supports for children and families separated by incarceration," commented Shay Bilchik, Executive Director of the Child Welfare League. "Our goal is to share this information with professionals in key disciplines and the general public so together we can create better outcomes for children whose parents are involved with the criminal justice system."

CWLA launched its Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative in March 1996 when it hosted a national conference that brought together child welfare and criminal justice professionals. Since then, CWLA has produced and distributed informational materials on this issue for the child welfare community and general public.

Contact information:

Joyce Johnson
CWLA's Children with Incarcerated Parents
440 First St. NW, Third Floor
Washington, DC 20001-2085
Phone: 202-942-0244
Website: http:///