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October 2007Vol. 8, No. 9Keeping Children Safe When Parents Are Arrested

A coordinated response involving child welfare services and law enforcement may be an effective way to ensure that children remain safe when their parents are arrested. A new report, Keeping Children Safe When Their Parents Are Arrested: Local Approaches That Work, examines the efforts of four California communities to develop protocols for such a coordinated response.

While the approaches developed by San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Santa Clara County vary in the details, they all have resulted in a higher degree of collaboration between law enforcement and child welfare services. The benefits of these approaches, as identified by participating law enforcement and child welfare agencies, include:

  • Reduction in traumatic effects of parental arrest on children
  • Reduction in law enforcement officer time at the arrest scene
  • Increase in goodwill between law enforcement agencies, parents, and the community
  • Reduction in the number of children taken into formal child welfare services custody and reduction in costs associated with formal placement
  • Enhanced relationships between law enforcement and child welfare services

The report was written by Ginny Puddefoot and Lisa K. Foster and published by the California State Library, California Research Bureau. (2,548 - KB)

Related Item

To read about research on children and families involved with both the child welfare and criminal justice systems, see "Where the Child Welfare and Criminal Justice Systems Meet" in this issue.