Impacted by Incarceration

Is the parent of the child you care for or work with currently in jail or prison? Access to resources that connect families and an incarcerated parent is difficult, especially in Montana. For many children, one or both parents are taken from the home leaving them in the care of relatives or non-relative caregivers. The following resources provide caregivers and professionals with information on how to help children better understand why their parent(s) are incarcerated and how to help them cope with the negative emotions that often accompany a parent's absence.

This video covers how to support youth with an incarcerated parent.

Fact Sheet

Prison Life Podcast - Crime, Punishment, and Family

This 45-minute podcast shares how families can be traumatized and stigmatized when a parent is incarcerated.

Tip Sheet for Supporters of Children who have an Incarcerated Parent


Virtual Resources


Telling the Children FAQ. The National Prisoners’ Families Helpline provides tip sheet shares FAQs about children of prisoners and offers fellowship resources for families affected by incarceration.

Supporting Youth with Incarcerated Parents: For Social Workers. Video, discussion guide, and resources for social workers working with children with incarcerated parents.

Coping with Incarceration. Sesame Street describes how parents can explain incarceration to their children and how to normalize the child's feelings about their incarcerated parent.

Children of Incarcerated Parents. National Institute of Corrections provides research, policy briefs, program reviews, data, and additional resources.


Prison Life Podcast, "The Prison Family Journey."

Institute for Research on Poverty podcast, "Attachment Behaviors in Children with Incarcerated Fathers."


Connecting with Incarcerated Parents is Easier with Photo Patch, an App Developed by a Teen. Teen Vogue article.

Photo Patch app [Android]   [Apple]

Additional Readings

Fact Sheets

Tips Sheet for Providers: Supporting Children Who Have an Incarcerated Parent. tipsheet.

FAQ about Children of Prisoners from Prison Fellowship.

Children of Incarcerated Parents Fact Sheet by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.


Let’s Make It Easier for Kids to Visit Incarcerated Parents. The Marshal Project overviews the benefits of the family visits to children of incarcerated parents.

Kids of Incarcerated Parents Have More Substance Abuse, Anxiety. Psych Central article about risk factors of children with incarcerated parents.

NPR short read, "Keeping Kids Connected with Their Jailed Parents."

How to Help a Child Whose Parent is in Jail. Family Today article.



Pragmatic Mom's list of 10 books featuring children with incarcerated parents. 

Good Reads list of books about incarcerated family members.


Tips for professionals supporting children whose parents are incarcerated.


 Sesame Street video explaining defining incarceration.


Children of incarcerated parents share about their experiences.

Recommended Reading for Children

Goes to a site where you can buy the book Knock Knock by Daniel Beaty
Knock Knock: My Dad's Dream for Me
by Daniel Beaty
Click to go to the site that sells the book, The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
The Invisible String 
by Patrice Karst
Goes to a site that sells the book, Visiting Day by Jacqueline Woodson
Visiting Day
by Jacqueline Woodson
Goes to a site that sells the book, Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Goes to a site that sells the book, The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson
The Same Stuff as Stars
by Katherine Paterson
Goes to a site that sells the book, You Weren't With Me by Chandra Ghosh Ippen
You Weren't With Me
by Chandra Ghosh Ippen