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Child Welfare. 1998 Sep-Oct;77(5):617-39.

The forgotten parent: understanding the forces that influence incarcerated fathers' relationships with their children.

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  • Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA.


Fathers who are in prisons and jails are not just convicts--they are parents as well. The family roles and responsibilities of incarcerated fathers, however, are seldom the focus of institutional policies, scholarly research, or child welfare services. This article examines the issues that must be addressed in designing policies and providing services that promote the maintenance of parent-child bonds and responsible parenting when fathers are incarcerated. It describes the family roles and structures of men in prison and looks at differences between public perceptions and the real-life experiences of prisoner parents. The ways in which correctional policies and child welfare practices influence and shape fathers' parenting abilities and father-child relationships are discussed, and strategies for creating a supportive environment for fathers and their children and families are proposed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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