Child Welfare Practice With Families Affected by Parental Incarceration (1 credit hour)

Program Summary:  This course explores how parental incarceration affects children, parents, and caregivers and offers resources for professional practice.  Issues of visitation, case planning, and reunification are discussed.

This course is recommended for social workers, counselors and therapists and is appropriate for beginning and intermediate levels of practice.  

Course Reading:  Child Welfare Practice with Families Affected by Parental Incarceration

Publisher:  Child Welfare Information Gateway; Children’s Bureau

Find the reading at:

Course Objectives:  To enhance professional practice, values, skills, and knowledge by identifying key issues related to families affected by parental incarceration.

Learning Objectives:   Describe the effects of parental incarceration on children, parents, and caregivers.  Compare rights of incarcerated parents and other parents regarding visitation, case planning, and reunification.  Describe ways to maintain connections between incarcerated parents and their children.

Review our pre-reading study guide.

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1: Nearly half of parents incarcerated in prisons lived with their children __________ prior to their arrests or incarceration (Glaze and Maruschak, 2008).
2: On average, prison inmates- both parents and nonparents- are incarcerated for more than ______________ (Carson, 2014).
3: According to data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), parental incarceration was a reason for entry into foster care for ____________ of all children in 2013 (US Department of Health and Services, 2013).
4: Children with mothers who are incarcerated in State prisons are more than __________ as likely to reside in a foster home or agency than children with fathers who are incarcerated in State prisons.
5: The Adoption and Safe Families Act requires States to file for the termination of parental rights for any child who has been abandoned or in foster care for _________ of the most recent 22 months.
6: ASFA outlines several exceptions to the 15 of 22 months rule that States have the option of incorporating into their laws, including
7: All of the following describe the effects of maternal incarceration on children except:
8: Children's negative reactions to the incarceration of their parents can be buffered by
9: In general, Federal and most State laws ___________ between the rights of incarcerated parents and other parents regarding regular visitation and contact with their children, engagement in case planning, and reasonable efforts in support of reunification.
10: To find a parent in a Federal prison, visit
11: To find inmates in State prisons or local jails, caseworkers can visit
12: Caseworkers must make all reasonable efforts to reunite children with their incarcerated parents, as they would for any other family reunification case, unless
13: What percentage of incarcerated parents with substance dependence or abuse issues received any treatment since entering prison (Glaze and Maruschak, 2008)?
14: What percentage of all parents in State prison reported receiving any parenting or childrearing classes?
15: What legislation signed in 2008 provides for Federal grants to government and nonprofit agencies to support individuals released from jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities?
16: In cases where children do not want to visit parents who maltreated them, caseworkers should
17: In a study of parents in State prisons, almost ____________ had some form of contact with their children (Glaze and Maruschak, 2008).
18: Caseworkers should ensure that visits are comfortable for children by
19: If visits are not possible, caseworkers can help children and parents connect through
20: Relative caregivers are more likely to adopt the children of incarcerated parents in their care
21: To locate a parent who has been detained for immigration issues, use the
22: In 2013, ICE issued the Parental Interests Directive which establishes parents' rights within the

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After you log in, a link will appear here that will allow you to purchase this course.


Free State Social Work, LLC, provider #1235, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Free State Social Work, LLC maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 9/6/2021 - 9/6/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 1 continuing education credit.

Free State Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP NO. 6605. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Free State Social Work is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

G.M. Rydberg-Cox, MSW, LSCSW is the Continuing Education Director at Free State Social Work and responsible for the development of this course.  She received her Masters of Social Work in 1996 from the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois-Chicago and she has over 20 years of experience.  She has lived and worked as a social worker in Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City.  She currently practices in the area of hospital/medical social work.  The reading materials for this course were developed by another organization.