This fact sheet provides statistical information in the areas of adult incarceration, the affect of incarcerated parents on children and families left behind, and the affect upon children and youth with respect to foster care.
On any given day, over 1.5 million children in this country—approximately 2% of the minor children—have a parent serving a sentence in a state or federal prison. Yet, despite widespread statements that children with incarcerated parents are many times more likely than other children to be incarcerated as adults, there is no reliable research evidence to support this assertion. However, there is evidence that maintaining contact with one’s incarcerated parent improves a child’s emotional response to the incarceration and supports parent-child attachment.
In terms of foster care, children of incarcerated mothers are more likely to “age out” of the foster care system, and are less likely to reunify with their parents, get adopted, enter into subsidized guardianship, go into independent living, or leave through some other means.
For more insight into these statistics and more data that puts in perspective the ramifications for foster children with incarcerated parents, please download the fact sheet.