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New Funding for Children of Prisoners

7/2/2001:   The issue of crime in the United States is so well-publicized that it is not surprising to learn that an estimated 1.9 million people, or one in 150 Americans, are incarcerated in this countrys prisons and jails. What does not appear on the news or in the papers though, is that many of these prisoners are parents - and when they went to prison, they left behind more than 1.5 million children.

Because children who experience parental crime, arrest, and incarceration are at increased risk for negative outcomes such as poor academic treatment, truancy, dropping out of school, gang involvement, early pregnancy, drug abuse, and delinquency, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), part of the U.S. Department of Justice, has announced $4 million in funding for projects focused on children with incarcerated or formerly incarcerated parents.

Congress appropriated the funds to NIC "to fund private sector or not-for-profit groups that have effective, tested programs to help children of prisoners." Funding will be distributed according to five separate solicitations that appeared in the Federal Register on June 22, 2001. Copies of the announcements and the required application forms can be downloaded from the NIC website at http://www.nicic.org/services/coop/default.htm. Applications must be submitted by August 2, 2001.

Summaries of the five solicitations follow:

1. Children of Prisoners Resource Center. NIC will award up to $1 million to create a resource center for children of prisoners. The resource center will provide training and technical assistance, plan a public awareness program, identify existing research and resources, support and manage an advisory group, and develop and conduct process and outcome evaluations for all other awardees.

2. Planning Awards. NIC will award three 18-month planning grants, of up to $100,000 each, to three private nonprofit agencies in three jurisdictions. Awardees will develop a comprehensive plan for delivery of services to the target population of children traumatized or injured by parental incarceration. Awardees must create or build on an existing collaborative planning process.

3. Awards to Communities with High Crime and Incarceration Rates. NIC will award up to $1.675 million to three to five private and/or nonprofit agencies working with children living in communities with high crime and incarceration rates. Awardees will develop three-year demonstration programs.

4. Children of Parents in Prison. Three-year demonstration awards will be made to two agencies that work with children of parents held in state or federal prisons. One award will be for $30,000 per year; the other award will be $135,000 per year; the total funding is $500,000.

5. Children of Parents in Jail. Three-year demonstration awards to two agencies that work with children of parents held in local jails. One award will be for $30,000 per year; the other award will be $135,000 per year; the total funding is $500,000.


  • Additional funding opportunities for children of prisoners may be on the horizon. President Bushs budget included $67 million within the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program to assist children of prisoners.

  • For recent statistics about children with incarcerated parents, see the Bureau of Justice Statistics report "Incarcerated Parents and Their Children" (August 2000) at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/iptc.htm.

  • For the state-by-state Directory of Programs Serving Families of Offenders, visit the Family and Corrections Network website at http://www.fcnetwork.org.

  • To order complimentary copies of CWLAs Working with Children and Families Separated by Incarceration: A Handbook for Child Welfare Agencies, visit CWLAs website at http://www.cwla.org/programs/incarcerated/handbook.htm.

  • For general information about children with incarcerated parents, visit CWLAs website at http://www.cwla.org/programs/incarcerated/.

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