Children of Incarcerated Parents. What is the Caregiver's Role?
by Jackie Reilly, Youth Development Specialist
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Reno, NV
and
Sally Martin, Ph.D., CFLE
State Extension Specialist, Human Development and Family Studies Department
University of Nevada
Reno, NV

As a caregiver of young children you might wonder why you would be concerned about children of incarcerated parents. Women with young children are the fastest growing group of inmates. Most women who are incarcerated have a history of victimization and substance abuse (Devine, 1997; Feinman, 1994). Because of embarrassment or concern about the reactions of others, family members may not tell you, the caregiver, or the child that a parent is incarcerated. If you care for children who are not living with their biological parent, it is possible that the parent is incarcerated.

Children whose parent is incarcerated are impacted in a number of ways. They may feel a sense of:

The impact on children depends on a number of factors, including the following: