About Me About For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals For Students 

About Me

I have been studying children and families affected by parental incarceration since my first National Institutes of Health grant was funded in 2001. I first became aware of the issue in the late 1990s when I was working as a clinical psychologist at the State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse in the Department of Family Medicine. I started receiving referrals to evaluate young children whose mothers were incarcerated because some children were exhibiting intense social emotional reactions following the mother’s departure, including social withdrawal, developmental regressions,…

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New Podcast about Children with Incarcerated Parents from the Institute for Research on Poverty Blog Feature For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals For Students 

New Podcast about Children with Incarcerated Parents from the Institute for Research on Poverty

In this podcast episode, child psychologist Julie Poehlmann-Tynan of the University of Wisconsin–Madison talks about a new study on attachment in children who have an incarcerated father and discusses some of the factors that may lead to differences in kids’ attachment behaviors.

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Early signs of children’s behavior problems Blog Feature For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals For Students 

Early signs of children’s behavior problems

A new study shows that toddler “dysregulation” can lead to significant behavior problems when children are six years old. The children in the study were born preterm (at or before 36 weeks gestation, which is a month or more early). The other factors that led to behavior problems were poverty and maternal depression. Early Warning Signs of Problem Children Run Deeper Than You’d Think Parents and caregivers can help by paying attention to whether their 2-year-old melts down or is more irritable than other children that age. And so much…

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Encouraging Responsible Fatherhood Blog Feature For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals 

Encouraging Responsible Fatherhood

A new report from the Urban Institute summarizes 6 programs for fathers with a history of incarceration. The following organizations and programs were included in the report:  Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action, Inc. (KISRA), headquartered in Dunbar, West Virginia, which called its program the West Virginia Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood Initiative  Lutheran Social Services (LSS), headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which called its program Fatherhood and Families  New Jersey Department of Corrections’ (NJDOC) Office of Substance Abuse Programming and Addiction Services, headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey,…

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Incarcerated Parent-Child Visit Information from the Urban Institute Blog For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals For Students 

Incarcerated Parent-Child Visit Information from the Urban Institute

The Urban Institute just released a white paper focusing on parent-child visitation when parents are in jail or prison. “Research on the effectiveness of different types of visits is limited, but many experts believe that contact visits conducted in supportive, safe, and child-friendly environments are likely the best option to help most families mitigate the harmful effects of parental incarceration. Further, a growing body of research supports the use of contact visits, which allow children to see that parents are safe and healthy while in prison or jail (Tasca et…

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New study on attachment in children with incarcerated fathers Feature For Professionals 

New study on attachment in children with incarcerated fathers

My recent Ph.D. graduates (Drs. Cynthia Burnson, Lindsay Weymouth, and Hilary Runion) and I just published a new study on attachment in young children with incarcerated fathers. We rated young children’s attachment behaviors at home and developed a new observational measure (the Jail-Prison Observation Checklist) to rate children’s attachment behaviors and emotions during visits with jailed parents. 77 children, age 2 to 6 years, and their jailed fathers and current caregivers participated in the home visit portion of the study. 28 of these children participated in the observed jail visit. We found that non-contact barrier…

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Resilience in Children with Incarcerated Parents Blog Feature For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals For Students 

Resilience in Children with Incarcerated Parents

Researchers have devoted considerable attention to investigating factors that negatively affect children’s outcomes. This is with good cause. Gaining information about the different risks and adverse experiences that threaten children’s health, development, and cognitive and social skills may contribute greatly to targeting interventions at those factors that have the greatest impact across cases. Yet, we know also that some children weather the storms of life better than others. This would suggest that an important complement to the study of risks are those efforts to identify assets experienced by children that…

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‘I have rights too:’ The Importance of youth voice among children of incarcerated parents Blog For Parents & Caregivers For Professionals For Students 

‘I have rights too:’ The Importance of youth voice among children of incarcerated parents

Children and adolescents of incarcerated parents face many barriers. The loss of a parent to the criminal justice system, even temporarily, can often be a hard adjustment. While it may be critical to discuss the policies, practices and supports these children need, it is equally important to engage in this discussion with youth at the table. Incorporating a youth perspective means more than adding the occasional personal testimonial, it means taking a step back to hear from the individuals these practices impact the most.   I recently had the opportunity…

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