COIP Blog: Foster Care

JS Blog Post October 29, 2018

Oregon State Continues to Lead in Supporting Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Oregon continues to lead in providing support for children of incarcerated parents. A recent training “Incarcerated Parents: Don’t Forget About Me” given earlier this month by Oregon Department of Corrections’ (DOC) Administrator of Programs & Social Support Services and the Department of Human Services (DHS) reflects a tone of changing attitudes often possessed by child welfare and prison staff. Specifically, the second and third slides of the presentation with their beliefs include: Read more »

JS Blog Post October 27, 2018

The Family First Prevention Services Act Offers Support for Children of Incarcerated Parents

Riley Hewko, Esq.

Last spring, groundbreaking legislation, The Family First Prevention Services Act (“FFPSA”), was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act allowing states to use federal funding to help keep families together and avoid out of home foster care placement entirely. Specifically, the legislation changes the way that Title IV-E funds can be spent by states by allowing funds to be used for prevention services that help keep kids at home or with their relatives. Prevention services include for example, mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services, in-home skill-based parenting programs, foster care maintenance payments for children with parents in residential family-based substance abuse treatment facilities, and payments for kinship navigator programs.

JS Blog Post October 15, 2018

Policy Brief: Helping Children of Incarcerated Parents & Children in Foster Care Calls for Alternative Sentencing and Keeping Kids at Home

Riley Hewko, Esq.

We know parental incarceration often leads to additional challenges for already disadvantaged and under-resourced families. However, it may also lead to the complete and permanent loss of the parent-child relationship. When parents go away to prison, other parents, caregivers, and/or family members must step in to provide support. If these parents do not have another parent or family who can step in, many of these children will end up in the foster care system. Based on numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a majority of parents in state prisons have been in for 12 to 59 months and had 12 to 50 months left to serve. This time served is significantly more than the child welfare timeline allows and may lead to the permanent separation of families involved in the child welfare system. Read more »

JS Blog Post October 5, 2018

Study Update: Recent Study Shows Negative Public Health Impacts for Children with Histories of Parental Incarceration and Need for Decarceration Strategies

Riley Hewko, Esq.

A recent study confirms that incarceration is one of the major public health challenges of our time, not only for the people experiencing incarceration, but for children left behind. The study by Nia Heard-Garris MD et al, “Health Care Use and Health Behaviors Among Young Adults with History of Parental Incarceration,” found that young adults with histories of parental incarceration are less likely to use health care and more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors compared with peers without parental incarceration. Such findings urge policy makers to reduce incarceration rates and help children maintain contact with their incarcerated parents. Read more »

JS Blog Post November 8, 2017

Reflections from an Incarcerated Dad

Lill M. Hewko

Nationally it is estimated that the number of kids who have had a parent in jail or prison at some point hovers around a conservative estimate of 5.1 million. For children with a parent in jail or prison, distance, cost, visitation restrictions, family conflict, and legal barriers can make it difficult for children to remain in contact with their parent. They may even lose that connection permanently as the Adoption and Safe Families Act is an even larger barrier for parents who are incarcerated. A young parent I work with, Daniel Loera, describes the importance of his daughter in his life,  as well as his young-adult insight regarding his own path to prison, his resilience, and his efforts to honor his family and find healthy community outside of gangs: Read more »

JS Blog Post May 10, 2017

Children of Incarcerated Parents in the United States: What We Know and What We Still Need to Learn

Megan Sullivan

By: Megan Sullivan*

This is the first of a series on children of incarcerated parents. My thanks to Justice Strategies for allowing me the opportunity to participate in this series.

I come to the topic of children with incarcerated parents from several vantage points. First, I was ten years old when my father was arrested and received a two-to-five-year sentence for larceny. I know firsthand that while the relationship between a parent’s incarceration and a child’s outcomes is not obvious or proscriptive, there are important reasons to pay attention to this relationship. Read more »

JS Blog Post March 28, 2017

Grasping at the Root: A young father's path to incarceration.

Lillian M. Hewko

This is the first in a series of blog posts on fatherhood* and incarceration by Justice Strategies featuring Daniel Loera, a 21-year-old father of a 4-year-old daughter, currently serving time at Monroe Correctional Facility in Washington State. Daniel is navigating both the prison and child welfare systems in an attempt to maintain his parental rights.

Daniel was 16 when he committed the crime of assault. Along with a cousin, and under the influence of drugs, he followed two strangers outside of a Walmart to rob them. Daniel beat the young man he had followed with the butt of a gun and then fled the scene in his cousin’s car, only to be picked up two blocks away and then identified in a lineup. He was automatically charged as an adult, sentenced to 7.75 years of prison and 3 years of community custody.

When I sit across from Daniel, I can hardly imagine the young man described in the police report. When asked about his young self, Daniel says: Read more »

JS Blog Post February 26, 2015

Garnering Support for Policy Change: Family Impact Statement

Allison Hollihan, Program Manager, Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents

This blog focuses on the needs of children and how Family Impact Statements (FIS) can ensure that the needs of children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system are considered when important criminal justice decisions are made; it’s a story of progress and ongoing work to be done. A Family Impact Statement contains information about a defendant’s minor children and parenting responsibilities and describes how various sentencing options might affect these. When public safety is not compromised, FIS may support an alternative to incarceration or a shorter sentence length to minimize collateral consequences. However, FIS are not commonly used and garnering support for policy and practice change can be challenging. Here, we share how the Osborne Association’s New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents collaborated with New York State (NYS) probation professionals to encourage the inclusion of FIS in pre-sentencing investigation reports for the courts. Ultimately, we rebranded FIS as a Family Responsibility Statement (FRS) to garner the support needed to encourage the inclusion of information about a defendant’s children and parenting responsibilities in pre-sentence investigation reports developed by probation officers in New York State. Read more »

JS Blog Post January 12, 2015

Second post - Hill Briefing on Prioritizing the Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents in the USA - Wednesday, September 4, 2014, Washington, D.C.

Patricia Allard

Charles Dalton Telschow performed a moving spoken word piece on September 4, 2014 during the Hill Briefing about prioritizing the needs of children of incarcerated parents. This original piece speaks volumes about the devastating impact of mass incarceration. Stay tuned for more presentations.
 

JS Blog Post January 6, 2015

Hewing a Stone of Hope Out of a Mountain of Despair: The Children of Incarcerated Parents’ Bill of Rights

Gail Smith

“The children of prisoners are guaranteed nothing. They have committed no crime, but the penalty they are required to pay is steep. They forfeit, too often, much of what matters to them: their homes, their safety, their public status and private self-image, their primary source of comfort and affection. Their lives and prospects are profoundly affected by the multiple institutions that lay claim to their parents—police, courts, jails and prisons, probation and parole—but they have no rights, explicit or implicit, within any of these jurisdictions.” – San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership

An estimated 2.7 million children nationwide are left behind by having at least one parent in jail or prison. In 2003, the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership (SFCIPP) developed a Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents, based on the experiences of children. Nell Bernstein, with her groundbreaking book, All Alone in the World: Children of the Incarcerated, helped to launch this initiative. In 2005 they deepened the blueprint by launching the Rights to Realities Initiative, outlining steps toward implementation.  In case you are not familiar with them, here are the eight rights: Read more »

Monthly Feature

Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People's Movement Western Regional Conference

Convened by All of Us or None & Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Sunday, September 20th & Monday, September 21st

Formerly incarcerated and convicted people, family members, community and spiritual leaders, elected officials and government employees will all come together to strengthen our relationships and work towards making change through community empowerment. We invite you to Voice your opinion, learn your rights and learn what changes we can make together. All of Us or None Contact: (415)-255-7036 ext. 337 www.prisonerswithchildren.org

FREE REGISTRATION: eventbrite.com