Children and Families Affected by Incarceration

Video Resources

Children and Parental Incarceration

  • Echoes of Incarceration is an award-winning documentary initiative produced by youth with incarcerated parents. The project explores the issue of mass incarceration and its effects on families, and creates documentary films told from the life experiences of the filmmakers themselves. (6 films, 2009 – present)

  • Children of the Incarcerated 1 in 28 children in the United States have a parent behind bars. For African American children, that number is 1 in 9. Inside Out talks to Shaquille Mualimm-ak, from about his experience coping with having a parent behind bars. We also sit down for an in-depth conversation with Author and Professor Alan Singer & talk about the causes and effects of having a parent incarcerated. (2015, 16 minutes)

  • Why and How Policymakers Should Support Family Connections During Incarceration R Street Institute. While incarceration is an individual punishment, in reality, it tangibly impacts millions of Americans. Mothers and fathers are separated from their children, adolescents from their parents and siblings from their best friend. (2020, 1½ hours)

  • Raising Kids in the System. CNN. How three women are finding ways to parent within the criminal justice system. Ramsey County Correctional Facility, St. Paul, MN (Minnesota Prison Doula Project); Hour Children (Queens, NYC); Justice Home (Bronx). (2019, 27 minutes)

  • How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris: TED Talk Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime. (2015, 16 minutes)

  • Children of Prison Inmates This program inspires children of inmates to read more often, connects children and incarcerated parents through stories. (2014 – 2020, 12 short videos)

  • Justice in America, Episode 23: Criminalizing Mothers One of the most devastating collateral consequences for someone involved in the criminal justice system is the potential destruction of their family – most commonly parents losing custody of kids and children being forced into foster care. (2020, 70 minutes)

  • Incarceration Tool Kit | Sesame Street: Little Children, Big Challenges: Nylo Talks about Incarceration Nylo talks with Murray about his mom's incarceration. (2013, ~ 2 minutes)

  • Project What! Presents Bill of Rights: Everywhere and Talking Community Works. Project WHAT! Youth Advocates. Behind every parent in jail or prison, there are children who are serving time as well. (Several children talk about their experiences when their parents were incarcerated. (3½ minutes)

  • ScholarCHIPS Student Testimonials provide college scholarships, mentoring and a peer support network to children of incarcerated parents, inspiring them to complete their college education. (~ 7 minutes)

  • Yasmine founded and currently leads ScholarCHIPS to provide support to youth who have an incarcerated parent and reduce the shame and stigma. As the child of an incarcerated parent, she believes in empowering youth to reach their potential through mentorship and guidance. (2018, ~ 1½ minutes)

  • Connecting Kids with Incarcerated Parents Having a parent in prison is incredibly hard for families. The Women's Storybook Project is trying to relieve some of the stress on kids and moms alike by simply enabling mothers to read to their kids. (2018, 3½ minutes)

  • You Weren’t With Me. A book that addresses the tumultuous, intense and complex feelings that children confront when they are separated from their mother.

Children of Incarcerated Parents

Child Welfare

Talking to Children about Race, Racism, & Diversity

  • How to Talk to Kids About Race “The worst conversation adults can have with kids about race is no conversation at all,” says author Jemar Tisby. “Talking to kids about race needs to happen early, often, and honestly.” (2018, 3 minutes)

  • Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism. PBS offers a variety of resources including TV specials, article suggestions, book recommendations, and a virtual video discussion on “Talking to Children Authentically About Race and Racism.” (2020, ~ 30 minutes)

  • Raising Antiracist Kids: Empowering the Next Generation of Changemakers. Discussion about raising anti-racist children with author Derecka Purnell and Ibram X.Kendi, author of the book, AntiRacist Baby. (2020, 1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Systemic Racism Explained Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here's a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it. (2019, ~ 4 minutes)

Videos of Children’s Books

Article Resources & More


Infant Development and Adverse Childhood Experiences

In gratitude to Beth Isaacs and Illinois Birth Justice for the original creation of this list.