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Working with Incarcerated and Released Parents

Lessons from OCSE Grants and State Programs

Published: September 29, 2006
Information About:
State/Local Child Support Agencies, Other Public Partners, Courts
Family Services & Referrals, Incarceration/Prisoner Reentry
Guides/Publications/Reports, Promising Practices

This report examines the findings of ten demonstration projects funded by OCSE in nine states and jurisdictions (California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Texas, Washington and Washington, DC) that addressed issues related to incarceration and child support. The projects, conducted over a six-year period, were funded by OCSE through a number of grant cycles. They were selected to examine various issues and objectives of interest to OCSE, and do not represent a single “incarceration initiative.” Some projects focused on the process of working with incarcerated parents and the barriers and opportunities for CSE outreach. Other projects were more outcomeorientated. This report presents the common threads and lessons learned from a series of discrete projects, rather than an evaluation of projects as a unified whole.

In addition to examining the ten demonstration projects funded by OCSE, this report describes some promising state and local child support agency efforts. All demonstration grant findings and state and local practices are organized in six major topic areas: 1) partnerships and collaboration; (2) identifying inmates and parolees with child support issues; (3) procedures to inform inmates about child support; (4) exploring modifications for offenders; (5) programs and procedures for working with paroled/released parents; and (6) addressing child support arrears.

To facilitate replications in other settings, we include promising project examples and contact information for project staff. We provide practical advice and suggestions on how child support agencies can amend their programs to be more effective with this population. Attached are brochures and various forms that projects have used successfully.