This information is designed to help foster relationships between incarcerated parents and their children. The Sesame Street-produced a publication, “Coping With Incarceration”, (also available in Spanish) website and application, include activities to do with children during visitation and practical tips on how to talk to children about separation and incarceration. Below are additional written tips for parenting from inside, visiting, and how to be an active parent while in an adult or juvenile detention facility.
- See Us, Support Us Toolkit (external link)
This on-line resource from The Osborne Association (NY) provides video and other resources on supporting children of incarcerated parents.
- Communication Tips for Prisoners and Their Families (external link)
This 5-page publication supports communication between incarcerated parents, their children, and their families by recognizing: “Without communication, their adjustment and long term well being may be compromised.” practical considerations and suggestions for prevention are included.
One page sheet with helpful hints on answering difficult questions and connecting through visits. Author: Sesame Street.
- Parenting and Parenting in Detention (external link)
A publication on pregnancy and parenting in juvenile detention, providing answers to questions about options, rights, and what to expect while in juvenile detention in WA. Published: Washington Appleseed.
- How To Parent from Prison and Other Advice for Life Inside (external link)
This radio podcast is part of a special series “Been There: Lessons form a Shared Experience.” Broadcast on 1/16/2108 on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Article by Jessica Cheung.
Other parenting-related resources include:
- Angel Tree (external link)
Prison Fellowship program supporting children during holidays while their parents are incarcerated.
- Storybook Projects (external link)
Storybook project is a program of Aid to Inmate Mothers (AIM) that provides comfort to children each month by offering them a tape recording of their mothers reading books.
- Long Distance Dads (external link)
WA Department of Corrections program (check with Family Services Division about availability and access to program) focuses on parenting and relationship skills, and Fathers as Readers has dads’ tape recording stories to send home for their children to hear.
How Caregivers, Family, and Friends Can Support Children Experiencing Parental Incarceration
Caregivers play important roles in a child’s life, especially when a parent is incarcerated. Caregivers are appropriate people to help parents create dependency plans, talk to children about their family’s situation, and help assist the incarcerated parent during visitations. Being a family member or a friend of an incarcerated individual can be confusing and hard, especially when it’s a completely new situation to all parties involved.
For more information on how to maintain relationships with someone during their period of incarceration, we recommend How to Explain Jails and Prisons to Children: A Caregiver’s Guide and the Sesame Street-produced written resource “Coping With Incarceration” (also available in Spanish), and the Coping with Incarceration website and mobile application also produced by Sesame Street. Sections include: how to talk to children about incarceration and parent-child activities to do during visitation.
Other resources that may help caregivers of children from mixed-status households. The forms in this section will help potential caregivers gain temporary legal custody if something were to happen to parents—such as detention or deportation.