Case Support

Enhancing Educational Success for Children of Parents With Criminal Convictions

The Challenge

How well a child performs in school often depends on whether their parents are involved in their education.   Research demonstrates that parent involvement in a child’s education leads to higher grades and test scores for the child, more challenging classes for the child, improved school attendance, increased chance of graduation, and increased chance the child will seek post-secondary education.  Federal policies require school districts to involve parents in an organized, ongoing, and timely way.   However, in Washington, parents with criminal convictions often face significant barriers to volunteering in their children’s schools.


WDA supports the removal of barriers to parental volunteering in schools as well as policies that affirm human dignity and respect for the all parents and families.  If state legislators mandate a uniform standard or policy for all school districts to increase the involvement of   parental volunteers with criminal convictions, such a mandate should take into account the special role and value of parents to their child’s educational success.

Below is the preliminary publication that describes this policy challenge and makes recommendations:

Enhancing Educational Success for Children of Parents With Criminal Convictions

This report focuses on certain highlighted barriers keeping parents with criminal convictions from volunteering in their children’s schools. 


2019 legislative efforts to address parental volunteering in schools after criminal conviction

Rep. Laurie Dolan has proposed House Bill 1833.   A Public Hearing in the Education Committee has not yet been scheduled.  Further updates will be forthcoming soon.


Related 2019 legislative efforts are also underway to address parental volunteering in schools after CPS or dependency-court involvement

Sen. Braun has proposed Senate Bill 5533.  A Public Hearing in the Senate Human Services, Rehabilitation & Re-Entry Committee was held on January 31, 2019.  Rep. Ortiz-Self has proposed a companion bill, House Bill 1645.  A Public Hearing in the House Human Services & Early Learning has not yet been scheduled.

Here is a helpful resource compiled by the Washington Association for Children & Families explaining the proposal to recognize that parents should get another chance to be a support and resource for the minor children in their lives.