27 August 2018

The impact of parental incarceration on children's care: Identifying good practice principles from the perspective of imprisoned primary carer parents

This paper presents the findings from interviews with 151 primary carer prisoners in two Australian states examining care planning for children upon parental arrest, sentencing and imprisonment, stability of care arrangements and primary carer prisoners' involvement and satisfaction with care planning. Around one third of prisoners had discussions regarding children's care arrangements at arrest and imprisonment. While there was much variation in the stability of care arrangements, children placed in out‐of‐home care experienced the most instability. A minority of prisoners reported being involved in care planning and decision‐making for children upon imprisonment while around one third rated the care planning process poorly. Prisoners were more satisfied with care planning when there were fewer movements of children; where prisoners felt involved with decision‐making; and when police officers, lawyers and corrections staff inquired about the welfare of their children. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.