According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2007, an estimated 1.7 million children under the age of 18 had a parent in prison, an increase of almost 80 percent since 1991. The negative consequences for children with an incarcerated parent can be substantial, including financial instability, changes in family structure, shame, and social stigma. However, research also shows that supporting healthy and positive relationships between these vulnerable children, who are the innocent bystanders of adult decisions, and their families has the potential to mitigate negative outcomes.
An interagency group, that includes the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Agriculture as well as the Social Security Administration, has partnered with stakeholders both inside and outside of government to identify opportunities to support these children and their caregivers. This fact sheet describes the efforts of the interagency group.