September 15th 2010
Instructor Melissa Williams
Children of Incarcerated Parents
The number of children growing up in households with incarcerated parents is growing rapidly and so are the children’s unique developmental needs. Nationwide, more than 2 million children have a parent who is incarcerated in state and federal prisions and local jails (US Department of Justice, 2007). These number continue to grow. Currently 1in 142 adults in the United States is in prision or jail (Lee, 2007). There are more prisioners than farmers currently in the United States (Calhoon, Goode, & Scott, 2005). Approximately 1 in 32 adults in the United Stated is under some form of correctional supervision. This figure includes those in jail, in prision, and those on probation and parole. Women compromise about 23% of the nation’s probationers – up from 21% in 1995 – and they are 12% of parolees. Adults who are under some form of correctional supervision are parents of close to 7 million children. This figure includes the 2 million children whose parents are actually incarcerated. Thus parents under community correction have approximately 5 million children (BJS, 2003, reported in Lee, 2007; BJS, 2005 reported in Arditti & Few). The number of Children of incarcerated parents is not on the declining side of the scale. When it comes to meeting the needs of these children and their non-incarcerated parents as well as addressing parenting and family needs of parents in prision are issues that come to the attention of social workers in multiple fields of practice (www.socialworkpolicy.org). Not one specific department of social work is dedicated to children of incarcerated parents. These children are passed off to numerous branches such as; mental health, child development, schools juvenile justice, criminal justice, child welfare and healthcare departments. There are multiple concerns when trying to fully...