BARRIERS TO REUNIFICATION FOR INCARCERATED PARENTS—A JUDICIAL PERSPECTIVE

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Abstract

Within the child welfare system, going to jail does not automatically mean losing your children. As the number of incarcerated parents rises, California dependency bench officers are looking at the effects incarceration has on parents seeking to reunify with their children. The California legislature passed legislation allowing a dependency judicial officer to consider the effect incarceration has on parents' performance and to grant additional reunification if a parent's progress is hindered by incarceration. In Los Angeles County, the Incarcerated Parents Working Group was specifically created in 2009 to look at the services available to incarcerated parents and what barriers these parents face in their efforts to reunify. Additionally, the working group has created judicial training on this subject for their bench officers and for other judicial officers throughout the state.

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