We envision a world in which children whose parents are involved in the criminal justice system are considered, their needs safeguarded, and their potential nurtured at every step of the criminal justice process.

Children of incarcerated parents love their parents, are loved by their parents, and need to know their needs will be met.

- Elizabeth Gaynes, Osborne president and CEO 

 

Who We Are

In partnership with diverse organizations and government agencies, the New York Initiative for Children of Incarcerated Parents (NYCIP) raises awareness, promotes policy and practice change, and builds partnerships to ensure that children’s rights are upheld, important relationships supported, and their potential nurtured during their parent’s involvement in the criminal justice system. NYCIP’s work is guided by the Children of Incarcerated Parents’ Bill of Rights 2005. NYCIP’s goal is to turn these rights into realities for children in New York and beyond. 

NYCIP is guided by the following principles:

  • Children’s needs should be considered across the continuum of their parents’ involvement in the criminal justice system, from arrest to reentry.
  • Those directly affected by parental incarceration should guide our advocacy and inform the development of the policies and practices that we promote.  
  • Children must have ways to maintain contact with their incarcerated parents which promote children’s well-being and successful reentry for parents.
  • Children of incarcerated parents thrive and succeed despite challenges when provided with appropriate supports and opportunities.
  • Children should be free of stigma and stereotypes that limit their future prospects and well-being.  

 

The Issue

The number of children with an incarcerated parent has increased nearly 80 percent in the past 20 years. Nearly 2.7 million children have a parent in jail or state or federal prison. One in 9 African-American children, one in 28 Latino children, and one in 57 white children has a parent who is incarcerated. Despite these disturbing numbers, few resources exist to support children and families coping with this life-changing circumstance. Children need tools to express emotions, to know they are not alone, and they need urgent attention paid to maintaining their attachments. Caregivers need support in adjusting to this new circumstance, including establishing age-appropriate communication around incarceration, and supporting children before, during and after visits. Meanwhile, professionals working with children and families need information, resources and tools, as well as an understanding of how to navigate the criminal justice system (a topic which is absent from most professional training academies and college and university curricula).

 

What We Do

In partnership with diverse organizations and government agencies, NYCIP raises awareness, promotes policy and practice change, and builds partnerships to ensure that children’s rights are upheld, important relationships supported, and their potential nurtured during their parent’s involvement in the criminal justice system.

NYCIP convenes our statewide partners representing over 60 agencies and community and faith-based partners throughout the year (in partnership meetings and events) to advance policies and practices that support children of incarcerated parents and their families in New York State (and beyond). NYCIP raises awareness about this invisible population of children and elevates the voices of children and families in all we do, including in our annual See Us, Support Us campaign.  

Through our work, NYCIP aims to:

  • Bring together diverse stakeholders and perspectives to advance policies and practice and increase understanding of the impact of parental incarceration on children and families
  • Develop and advocate for programs that support children of incarcerated parents
  • Provide opportunities and supports for young people with currently or formerly incarcerated parents to share their experiences and recommendations, and advocate for the changes they want to see.
  • Collect and disseminate information, research, and available data relevant to children and families affected by incarceration
  • Educate and train diverse professionals working with children and families about the impact of parental incarceration and supportive practices
  • Support or pursue legislative solutions when collaboration or efforts to create administrative changes is not producing results. 

 

See Us, Support Us

Click here for mroe information on See Us, Support Us

 

Contact Us

For more information, contact:

Allison Hollihan, LMHC
Senior Policy Manager

For more resources on children of incarcerated parents, click here