Impact of Parental Incarceration on Children in the Welfare System Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Parental Incarceration on Children in the Welfare System

In 1998, there was an estimated 200,000 children in the United States that had an imprisoned mother and more than 1.6 million with an imprisoned father (Seymour 1998). However, no one knows for certain how many children in the U.S. have an incarcerated parent (Seymour 1998). The Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents uses a formula for calculating these numbers by multiplying the number of currently incarcerated women by.75, the average number of incarcerated women with children, by 2.4, the average number of children per incarcerated mother; then multiply.56, the average percentage of incarcerated men with children, by 2.0, the average number of children per incarcerated father, and add the two sums together (Seymour 1998).

With the incarcerated population in the United States growing by an average of 6.5% each year, the number of children with parents in prison will only continue to increase (Seymour 1998). The rise of incarceration rate of women is of special concern due to the fact that women are most often the sole caregivers of their children (Seymour 1998). The number of women in prison has tripled in the United States since 1985, and on any given day, there are more than 100,000 women being held in jails and prisons throughout the country, with six percent of them pregnant when entering prison (Seymour 1998). Moreover, more than 53% of the children whose mothers are imprisoned are cared for by grandmothers, suggesting the extreme need for additional research on the social, economic, and health impact of this phenomenon on family caregivers, especially grandmothers (Ruiz 2002). Parental incarceration, and the crimes and arrests that precede it, cause chaos in the lives of the children involve, including traumatic separations and erratic shift from one caregiver to another, moreover, most of these children live in poverty before, during and after their parents' incarceration (Seymour 1998).

The number of children affected by parental incarceration can be only estimated, the true scope of the problem is uncertain due to the fact that few reliable statistics exist (Seymour 1998). Generally, "law enforcement does not gather information about the children of arrested adults and correctional institutions do not ask prisoners for specific information about their children" (Seymour 1998). Moreover, there is no specific agency or system in charge of collecting data about this population, thus, there is no way of knowing exactly how many children are affected, who they are or where they live (Seymour 1998).

To protect these vulnerable children and encourage family stability, the child welfare system has been and continues to be significantly affected by the increasing number of children with incarcerated parents (Seymour 1998).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' 1994 National Study of Protective, Preventive and Reunification

Services Delivered to Children and Their

Families [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau

1997] identified "incarceration" as the presenting problem of the primary caregiver in 4% of the cases of children and families who received child welfare services in 1994.

Studies suggest that 8-10% of the children of female prisoners and 1-2% of the children of male prisoners are in some form of out-of-home care" (Seymour 1998).

By these statistics more and more children with incarcerated parents are likely have Intermittent contact with the child welfare system (Seymour 1998).

Due to lack of sufficient data, little is known about children in the child welfare system who have parents in prison, however, in several ways they are similar to the rest of the child welfare population (Seymour 1998). They suffer from poverty, domestic violence, inadequate housing, lack of education, and difficulties with interpersonal relationships; children of color are disproportionately affected and parental substance abuse plays a large role in many of their lives (Seymour 1998). However, children of incarcerated parents have unique permanency planning needs due to the length of the parent-child separation (Seymour 1998). Moreover, these children may have unique therapeutic needs due to the criminal behaviors exhibited by their parents prior to incarceration, the trauma of parent-child separation, or the stigma associated with incarceration (Seymour 1998). Furthermore, "these children have unique casework needs because the structure of the criminal justice system makes it difficult for parents, children, caregivers, and case workers to maintain contact with one another and to plan for the child's future" (Seymour 1998). There is little known concerning the effectiveness of child welfare interventions,…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:


Cite This Term Paper:

"Impact Of Parental Incarceration On Children In The Welfare System" (2004, April 19) Retrieved December 8, 2016, from

"Impact Of Parental Incarceration On Children In The Welfare System" 19 April 2004. Web.8 December. 2016. <>

"Impact Of Parental Incarceration On Children In The Welfare System", 19 April 2004, Accessed.8 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Imprisonment on Individuals Families and Communities Incarceration...

    Imprisonment on Individuals, Families, and Communities Incarceration and its Impacts "Research has shown that the American prison system -- and the "get tough" approach to crime that has helped increase the incarceration rates -- impacts just the entire society, especially poor communities…" (Shelden, 2004, p. 6). Incarceration certainly has an impact -- mostly negative -- on the individual that is incarcerated. But what about the family of the incarcerated person? And what

  • Violence Against Children

    Violence Against Children The structure of violence as related to children directly correlates to their perceived socio-demographic risk. Several factors directly relate to the likelihood that a child will be subjected to violence at some point during their lives. Social, economic, demographic and physical factors all have a dramatic impact a child's development, either positive or negative and these factors also influence whether or not a child is more or less

  • Black s Law Dictionary 1991 Child

    Moreover, it is unclear whether Jim has attempted to reestablish any meaningful contact with his children; rather, his entire focus has been on becoming a better person. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that goal in and of itself (it is, after all, a universal human quality), he appears to have pursued this goal to the total exclusion of making any substantive reparations to his family. Finally, it is

  • Privatization of the Prison System

    Four years later, the average federal drug sentence for African-Americans was 49% higher." (Vagins and McCurdy, 2006) Additionally stated by Vagins and McCurdy is: "In 2000 there were more African-American men in prison and jails than there were in higher education, leading scholars to conclude that our crime policies are a major contributor to the disruption of the African-American family. The effects of mandatory minimums not only contribute to

  • Developmental Effects of Foster Care

    Other researchers have also found that when the foster care placement arrangements were long-term or permanent, the outcomes were not significantly injurious to the children so placed (Barth & Berry, 1987; Smokowski & Wodarski, 1996); nevertheless, a substantial percentage of children who experience foster care placement may already possess significant physical, psychological, and/or emotional injuries. In these cases, such children are much more likely to remain in the foster

  • Quan and Qual Studies Qualitative Study Domestic

    Quan and Qual Studies Qualitative Study Domestic violence is an ongoing experience of physical, psychological, and even sexual abuse in the home that is often a method used by one adult to establish control and power over another person. Exposure by children to marital aggression is now a recognized public health concern. The investigation of the effects of the exposure to this type of aggression on the functioning of a child is

  • Mindfulness and Martial Arts

    Mindful vs. traditional martial arts toward improved academic grades in children diagnosed with ADHD While medication and psychotherapy are the current best practice in treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), their benefits and aim are too peripheral and topical -- neither resolving the neurological origin of deficits. Moreover, many are opposed to these treatments and there are few substantiated and readily accepted alternatives. The consequences of ADHD have a ripple effect --

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved