Parents, caregivers, and caring adults

Observance: 2016 National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care Month, a month set aside to acknowledge foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections.

Resource: 2016 National Foster Care Month Microsite

In anticipation of National Foster Care Month in May, the Children's Bureau and Child Welfare Information Gateway developed a new microsite.

Share with Youth: Making College the Dream

At a town hall at North High School in Des Moines, Iowa, student body president Russhaun Johnson, whose mother was incarcerated during his high school career, described how education has empowered him. Johnson then introduced President Obama who discussed college access and affordability.

Share with Youth: LGBT Resources — Learn More, Get Involved, and Be Proud of Who You Are!

Share this YE4C blog post, which provides resources about several LGBT topics such as key terms, issues especially affecting LGBT youth, how to be an ally, and how to get involved in your community!

Training: Bullying Prevention Continuing Education Course

StopBullying.gov’s Bullying Prevention Continuing Education Training Course is now available. This self-directed training includes the latest research and best practices in bullying prevention and features periodic quizzes that allow users to test their knowledge.

Parents’ Guide to Gangs: Now Available in Spanish

NGC has published a Spanish version of the Parents' Guide to Gangs. This resource is designed to provide parents with answers to common questions about gangs and to help them recognize and prevent gang involvement.

Guide for Incarcerated Parents Who Have Children in the Child Welfare System

A new guide helps parents involved in the criminal justice system work with the child welfare system to stay involved with their children and understand the reunification process.

Guide for Incarcerated Parents Who Have Children in the Child Welfare System

A new guide helps parents involved in the criminal justice system work with the child welfare system to stay involved with their children and understand the reunification process.

Children of Incarcerated Parents: Presentations

The Benefits and Importance of Using YPAR with Youth with Incarcerated Parents

On September 21, 2020, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs hosted the webinar, The Benefits and Importance of Using YPAR with Youth with Incarcerated Parents. Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is an approach in which researchers engage youth as full partners in the research process. The approach teaches valuable skills while answering questions about topics youth deem critical. Research data and findings may be applied to policy and practice. This webinar discusses the variety of roles youth may hold and the importance of leveraging developmental relationships while conducting YPAR. Hear directly from a youth about her experiences with YPAR. This webinar is especially useful for researchers who conduct YPAR working with youth who have or have had an incarcerated parent.

Watch the webinar recording and download the slides (PDF, 39 pages):


Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents: Implementing the Model Arrest Policy

On May 15, 2019, the Federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the American Institutes for Research hosted the webinar, Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents: Implementing the Model Arrest Policy. This 90-minute live webinar highlighted the Model Arrest Policy implementation and is recommended for law enforcement staff, probation officers, social services staff, youth serving organizations, and researchers. The purpose of this webinar was:

  1. To highlight how a locality has instituted the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) model arrest policy through collaborations (e.g., between non-profit organizations and government agencies) to protect children of arrested parents.
  2. To share the experiences of a youth who has witnessed the arrest of her parent.
  3. To highlight research on the impact a parent’s arrest has on children, especially those who have witnessed the arrest.

Watch the webinar recording:

Listen to a follow-up interview with the youth presenter:


Educators are Critical Partners in Making A Difference in the Lives of Children of Incarcerated Parents

On September 24, 2015, the Federal Interagency Reentry Council (FIRC) Subcommittee on Children of Incarcerated Parents and the American Institutes for Research hosted the webinar, Educators are Critical Partners in Making A Difference in the Lives of Children of Incarcerated Parents. This presentation and Q&A session provided the audience with statistics on the prevalence of children with incarcerated parents, practical tips for addressing the needs of these children and youth, and how to use collaboration, focused assistance, and advocacy to contribute to positive outcomes for children who have an incarcerated parent. Presenters included nationally-recognized experts, educators who are currently addressing the needs of children of incarcerate parents, and a youth whose parent is incarcerated:

  • Ann Adalist-Estrin — Director, National Resource Center on Children and Families of the Incarcerated
  • David Osher — Vice President and Institute Fellow, American Institutes for Research
  • Dwight Davis — Assistant Principal, Turnaround for Children Partner School
  • Kendall T. — U.S. Dream Academy Graduate
  • Download the speaker biographies (PDF, 5 pages).

Watch the webinar recording:

  • Download the presentation slides (PDF, 60 pages).
  • Download the transcript (PDF, 20 pages).

» Learn more about Children of Incarcerated Parents at youth.gov/COIP.

» Join the Children of Incarcerated Parents listserv.

Family Engagement

Meaningful Family Engagement

Family engagement is essential in promoting healthy physical, cognitive and social-emotional development, and academic achievement of children and youth from pre-K to high school. Research shows that when families are meaningfully and continuously engaged in their children’s learning and development, they can positively impact their child’s health, development, academic, and well-being outcomes into adulthood.1,2

Description of Family Engagement

Strong family engagement happens when families have a primary and meaningful role in all decision-making that impacts every young person and their families. Meaningful family engagement is about improving outcomes for all youth and families and happens at the system level and at the service level.

At the system level, family engagement is evident when families routinely engage as equal partners with state and local leaders in planning, designing, and evaluating services, programs and policies that impact the lives of children, youth and families served.

Family engagement also happens at the individual service level where agency partners and a single family collaborate in making decisions that address their child’s unique strengths and needs and considers the family’s ideas of success. Meaningful family engagement requires that state and local leaders model and champion family partnership anchored by mutual respect, shared authority, two-way communication, and a commitment to a common vision and shared goals to improve outcomes for every young person and their family.3,4

Definition of “Family” in Family Engagement

Child and youth serving systems broadly define “family” in family engagement as including parents and other adult caregivers, acknowledging today’s varied family units and their needs for extended supports. For example, early childhood education and juvenile justice programming describe family engagement as including biological, adoptive, and foster parents; grandparents; legal and informal guardians; and adult siblings.5,6

Some agencies have broadened this definition of family to include related and non-related members. As an example, transition-aged and foster youth work with their providers to identify and name their personal family system that includes peers, mentors, and service providers who they trust and can count on for support. Key service sectors that are implementing family engagement plans and strategies to increase and improve the engagement of families in their systems and services include education, child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, and primary health care providers.

References

1 Weiss, Lopez, & Caspe, 2016
2 Henderson & Mapp, 2002
3 U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education, 2016
4 Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2016
5 U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education, 2016
6 Development Services Group, Inc., 2018