Strengthening Incarcerated Families: Evaluating a Pilot Program for Children of Incarcerated Parents and Their Caregivers


School of Public Health, 109 Observatory Avenue, SPH I, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029 (


Parental incarceration can be devastating for families. Children may experience difficulties, and the stress on caregivers who take on unexpected childrearing is high. The authors implemented and evaluated a family-level intervention with caregivers and children experiencing parental (typically maternal) incarceration in a community setting. The authors partnered with a community-based organization serving families with an incarcerated parent to conduct a pilot trial of the Strengthening Families Program (SFP). Process evaluation indicated high implementation fidelity, satisfaction, engagement, and attendance. Outcome evaluation results indicated positive changes in family-level functioning, caregivers' positive parenting, and caregiver depression symptoms from pre- to postintervention, with some changes retained at follow-up 4 months later. Implications for preventive interventions with children of incarcerated parents and their caregivers, are discussed.