Using Information and Collaboration to Connect Foster Kids & Incarcerated Parents
Federal law sets timelines for states' decisions about placing foster care children in permanent homes, and, in some cases, for filing to terminate parental rights. Some policymakers have questioned the reasonableness of these timelines for children of incarcerated parents and expressed interest in how states work with these families.
GAO was asked to examine: (1) the number of foster care children with incarcerated parents, (2) strategies used by child welfare and corrections agencies in selected states that may support contact or reunification, and (3) how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have helped these agencies support affected children and families. GAO analyzed national data, reviewed federal policies, interviewed state child welfare and corrections officials in 10 selected states that contain almost half of the nation's prison and foster care populations, and visited local child welfare agencies and prisons.
Foster care children with an incarcerated parent are not a well-identified population, although they are likely to number in the tens of thousands.
The resulting report covers available data on the number of children in care with incarcerated parents, policies and agency strategies for improving these families’ connections, and recommendations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Justice to improve assistance to agencies working with this population.
Get report highlights and the full text in the link below.