Case Support


WDA-IPP Visitation-Related Resources:

  • Instituting Contact Instituting Contact Visits at King County Jails – Cunningham (2017) – Policy Report

This policy report was submitted in support of an educational briefing to the King County Council Law & Justice Committee asking that the county institute contact visits for children and their incarcerated parents. Published on May 9, 2017.

  • Visitation & Parenting Beyond Bars – Hewko and Knowles (2015) (PDF) — Presentation

This presentation outlines social science literature on the why child welfare social workers should support increased visitation between children and their incarcerated parents, the benefits of prison visits for child well-being, and better outcomes for children.  Includes photos of child-incarcerated parent visits at DOC.

  • Importance of DOC Visitation – Hewko (2015) – Policy Report

This Incarcerated Parents Project policy report provides a  summary of social science literature and Washington statutory framework supporting the policy of encouraging child-incarcerated parent visitation at Washington’s Department of Corrections (DOC) prisons.


External Child-Parent Visitation Resources:

This practice and policy brief is addressed to judges and attorneys on what they need to know when assessing and designing visitation plans for  infants and toddlers in foster care and their parents.

  • Visiting Between Children in Care and Their Families – Hess (2003) – Policy Report

This report provides detailed information regarding the study findings, excerpts from the responding states’ policies that provide illustrations of clear and specific policy statement or that illustrate differing ways of addressing a content area, and recommendations concerning enhancement of the states’ visiting policies.

  • Hard Data on Hard Times – Ross (2002) – Research

The rising incarceration rates among women have raised concerns in many quarters, including child welfare. While social service laws and child welfare agency regulations require caseworkers to arrange visits between foster children and their incarcerated mothers in most circumstances, hard data that inform this issue are almost non-existent. Child welfare agencies do not know how often the mothers of foster children are incarcerated, how long maternal incarceration spells overlap in foster care placements, or why the mothers of foster children are incarcerated. At the request of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), Vera researchers examined the criminal histories of the biological mothers of foster children. 

  • Impact of Continued Contact with Biological Parents – McWey, et al. (2010) – Research

Findings indicated that more frequent contact with the biological mother was marginally associated with lower levels depression and significantly associated with lower externalizing problem behaviors. The association with externalizing problem behavior was significant even after controlling for gender and exposure to violence. Further, differences with regard to gender were revealed. Specifically, girls had higher depression scores than boys even after controlling for exposure to violence. Results suggest that supporting frequent, consistent, visitation may impact the levels of depression and externalizing programs children in foster care exhibit.

  • Inmate Social Ties and the Transition to Society – Bales and Mears (2008) – Research

The authors focused on a neglected but potentially critical factor, inmate visitation that may reduce recidivism. The expectation of such an effect stems from prominent crime theories and an increasing body of work that stresses the importance of social ties to the reentry process. Using data from  the Florida Department of Corrections, the authors tested hypotheses about the effects of visitation on recidivism. The measures of visitation included whether any visits occurred, the frequency and recency of visitation, and the type of visitor received (e.g., family member, friend). The authors also examined whether visitation effects varied by age, sex, race, type of instant offense, and prior incarceration.