Children Of Incarcerated Parents
Having a parent in jail is a traumatic experience that affect’s a child’s mental health, social behavior, education, and prospects for a good and happy life. Often, these children wind up acting out in school, blaming themselves, missing developmental milestones, having trouble making emotional attachments, and being judged by others. Later on, they may exhibit unhealthy adult behaviors such as alcoholism, depression, anxiety, and obesity.
Data from the 2011/2012 National Survey of Children’s Health Report estimates that 5.1 million children in this country have had a parent in jail or prison at some point. This is not surprising since the U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any other nation.
In addition to the emotional trauma and the difficulties of a disrupted family life, children of incarcerated parents face social stigma and financial hardship that results from the loss of that parent’s income. According to the report, family incomes drop 22 percent when fathers are incarcerated, about 65 percent of families with a member in prison cannot meet basic needs, and one-third land in debt. The remaining parent or family members must care for the child and often face child-care and work conflicts.
Since homes are disrupted, children may wind up in foster care. Incarcerated parents sometimes face termination of parental rights as incarceration of a parent is a material change of circumstances that may lead to custody modification.
Problems continue even when parents finish serving their time and return to the community. Having a criminal record can be a barrier to getting a good job, decent housing, or a loan. After prison, it is tough to earn enough to support a family because of lack of training, work experience, and a solid job history.
If you are a parent facing criminal charges and possible jail time, the seasoned Illinois criminal and parental law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation to fight for you and defend your rights. We know the family courts, the criminal justice system, and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines and recognize when to take your case to trial.
We offer a free initial consultation. If you or a loved one is a parent who has been accused of any criminal charges, get help today by calling 630-305-0222.
Services for Children
If you are facing prison, you are probably worried about what will happen with your children and whether your family will have enough money. Fortunately, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) has programs to help. These include:
- Early Intervention
- Developmental Disability Services
- Refugee & Immigrant Services
- Rehabilitation for Persons with Disabilities
- Food and Housing Assistance
- Health & Medical
- Mentoring Children of Prisoners
- Mental Health
- Pregnancy & Parenting
- Violence & Abuse Prevention
- Youth Services
- Alcoholism & Addiction.
Children and/or their caretakers may qualify for these services, which may be applied for online, at DHS offices or through their community partners.
In addition, Illinois offers a program called Project CHILD (Collaboration Helps Inmates Lessen Debt).
Project CHILD is a collaborative effort between the Department of Corrections, the Attorney General and Healthcare and Family Service’s Division of Child Support Enforcement. The purpose is to:
- Provide the incarcerated non-custodial parent (NCP) information on how their current Illinois child support order affects them.
- Provide the incarcerated NCP information on how to avoid accumulation of additional debts while incarcerated.
- Assist the incarcerated NCP in requesting a modification of their existing child support order.
The Illinois Department of Corrections and Division of Child Support provides information for incarcerated NCP’s about their obligations and options under the Illinois child support system. The Division of Child Support in the Attorney General’s office can process the NCP’s modification request.
Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.
If you have been charged with a crime and are also a parent, you have much at stake. What happens to you now can affect your children for years to come. You need an advocate on your side and the best criminal defense attorney that you can find. Your situation may seem bleak, but with skillful representation you have a chance.
The experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and both the criminal and family court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense. Our goal is to help you and your children, and to minimize the negative impact of the situation by focusing on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.
Don’t delay — contact us for help today if you have been accused of any criminal charges at 630-305-0222. We represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, Illinois and the Chicagoland area. Schedule your free initial consultation today.