Child Welfare League Of America Receives National Institute of Corrections Grant to Aid Children with Parents in Prison

Child Welfare League of America
Wednesday, 19 September 2001

September 19, 2001, Washington, DC -- The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) announced today that it was the recipient of a grant from the U. S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections (NIC). In partnership with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) and the American Correctional Association (ACA), CWLA will operate a new federal Resource Center for Children of Prisoners.

The Resource Center, located in Washington, DC, will conduct research and evaluation, collect and disseminate information, provide training and technical assistance, and increase awareness among the many disciplines and service systems that come in contact with families separated by incarceration.

Nationwide, more than 2 million children have a parent incarcerated in state and federal prisons and local jails. Many more have experienced a parent's incarceration at some point in their lives. Since 1991, the number of children with parents in prison has increased by more than 50%. Most of these children have an incarcerated father, but a growing number - currently 8% - have incarcerated mothers.

When parents are incarcerated, children's lives become disrupted and chaotic. Children may experience traumatic separations from their parents, stressful shifts to different caregivers, separation from siblings, and loss of contact with parents. In addition, these children's lives are often marked by poverty, parental substance abuse and mental illness, exposure to criminal activities, and other associated risk factors. As a result, children with incarcerated parents are more likely to develop emotional and behavioral difficulties including withdrawal, aggression, anxiety, and depression. They are also at greater risk for poor academic performance, alcohol and drug abuse, and juvenile delinquency.

Shay Bilchik, Executive Director of the Child Welfare League, commented, "We are delighted to receive this funding, and we welcome the opportunity to participate with NIC and our partners in the important work of developing better resources and supports for children and families separated by incarceration. Our goal is to share this information with professionals in key disciplines and the general public so together we can create better outcomes for children whose parents are involved with the criminal justice system."

CWLA and its partners will receive $1.1 million over a period of three years to operate the resource center.

Established in 1920, the Child Welfare League of America is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. Headquartered in Washington, DC, CWLA strives to advance sound public policy on behalf of the more than three million abused, neglected, and vulnerable children served by its more than 1,160 public and private member agencies. To further its mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting the well-being of all children and families, CWLA conducts research, develops standards of best practice, hosts regional and national conferences, provides comprehensive, field-based consultation and professional development services, and is the largest publisher of child welfare materials in the world.

For more information, or to contact Child Welfare League of America, see their website at: www.cwla.org

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