• October 2009
  • Vol. 10, No. 8

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Kinship Care When Parents Are Incarcerated

A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation looks at the involvement of the child welfare system when parents are incarcerated and children are placed in kinship care. The report, Kinship Care When Parents Are Incarcerated: What We Know and What We Can Do, by Creasie Finney Hairston, provides statistics about the number of families affected and explores the current research on this issue.

More than 1.7 million children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated, and caregiving by relatives is the dominant form of care for these children. In some cases, the children are placed by the child welfare system as part of the formal foster care system; in other cases, the children may be voluntarily placed with relatives. The relatives who step in to care for these children often face many obstacles. In addition to financial issues and domestic arrangements, families may face stressors such as poverty and physical and mental illnesses.

The report looks at the effects of policies and regulations on the parent-child relationship. For instance, research shows that incarceration of a parent reduces a child's chances of reunification with that parent after foster care.  The report also discusses Federal initiatives developed in response to the growing population of children with incarcerated parents, including mentoring and parent education programs.

To access the full report, visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation website:

www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Topics/Child%20Welfare%20Permanence/Foster%20Care/KinshipCareWhenParentsAreIncarceratedWhatWeKn/10147801_Kinship_Paper06a%203.pdf (1,598 KB)

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