Children of Incarcerated Parents – Champions of Change

On June 12, the White House hosted a “Champions of Change” event honoring 12 individuals who have dedicated themselves to supporting children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers, and otherwise working to help families impacted by incarceration.  The half-day event included two expert panels. One panel focused on the needs of children, highlighting the range of emotions children feel after their parent is incarcerated, the challenges associated with maintaining a relationship with an incarcerated parent, and the second hand stigma children often face as a result of the actions of their parents.  The second panel discussed the needs of caregivers, describing the vast numbers of individuals caring for a child who has a parent in prison or jail—including parents, grandparents, other relatives, family friends, and foster care parents—and the day to day difficulties encountered to provide financial and emotional support these children.   

The June 12 event also announced Sesame Street’s “Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration” Initiative, which includes bilingual (English/Spanish) materials for young children of incarcerated parents and their families. These free educational resources include a children’s story book, a guide for parents and caregivers, and a tip sheet for parents and are all available online. At the event Sesame Street showed a short video clip featuring Alex, Sesame Street’s first Muppet to have an incarcerated father. 

The event also announced a comprehensive list of policy and outreach deliverables (PDF, 4 pages), developed over the past year by a Federal interagency working group focused on supporting children of incarcerated parents and their families.  The deliverables include enhanced training and technical assistance for a range of stakeholders, the development of a model arrest protocol for law enforcement, and efforts to strengthen research and data collection for this unique population. 

Learn more about the event at http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/champions-for-the-children-of-incarcerated-parents or visit the web portal to learn more about the topic and find relevant resources.

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