Supporting Incarcerated Parents and Their Families
Through the Second Chance Act, multiple grant programs have provided funding for state, Tribal, and local agencies and nonprofit organizations—including faith-based, Tribal, and community-based nonprofit organizations—to provide mentoring and other transitional services for adults returning to their communities after incarceration. The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) administer the awards, and the CSG Justice Center provides technical assistance to support grantees in achieving their goals.
Second Chance Act Addressing the Needs of Incarcerated Parents with Minor Children
This program provides funding to support states, units of local government, and community-based organizations to develop programs within detention or correctional facilities to respond to the needs of incarcerated parents who have children younger than age 18. Key activities aim to strengthen family engagement between incarcerated parents and their children inside detention and correctional facilities, including juvenile detention and correctional facilities with young fathers, and implement programs and services that support the children of incarcerated parents to reduce their likelihood of antisocial behaviors and future involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Other program objectives are to support correctional facilities for staffing, tools, and resources to foster child-friendly spaces so parents can engage with their children; to develop safety protocols for children during visits; to provide the necessary programs and services to support the needs of incarcerated parents and their children; and to train corrections officers in trauma-informed practices that will enhance the well-being of officers, children, and families.
For more information, see the most recent OJJDP grant solicitation and webinar from 2023.
Second Chance Act Strengthening Relationships between Young Fathers, Young Mothers, and Their Children
This grant program supported the implementation and delivery of culturally appropriate and gender-specific transitional services that included one-on-one, group, and peer mentoring services for young fathers and mothers up to age 24 in the criminal justice system. Other services included a broad range of activities, such as providing case management, assessing both the risk factors and personal strengths that affect recidivism, substance use treatment, and other supportive, comprehensive services.
For more information, see the most recent OJJDP grant solicitation from 2016.
Second Chance Act Strengthening Families and Children of Incarcerated Parents
This grant program provided funding to nonprofit organizations that delivered services to foster engagement between incarcerated parents, children, and their caregivers, as well as to promote positive youth development. Funds supported the development and expansion of services for children with a parent incarcerated at a Federal Bureau of Prisons correctional facility. Those services included mentoring, case management, counseling, youth coaching, and academic support for the children, as well as services to facilitate communication between incarcerated parents, their children, and the children’s caregivers.
For more information, see the most recent OJJDP grant solicitation from 2015.
Second Chance Act Adult Mentoring and Transitional Services for Successful Reentry Program
This grant program provided funding to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Tribes working to promote successful reentry for people returning to communities from prison through the establishment of pre- and post-release mentoring services. Category 2 of the program focused on serving parents of minor children. Grant-supported activities included enhancing organizational capacity and efficiency of mentoring programs, improving trainings for mentors, and improving outcomes for participants.
For more information, see the most recent BJA grant solicitation from 2013.
Second Chance Act Family-Based Substance Use Treatment
This grant program provided funding for state, Tribal, and local government agencies to implement or expand treatment programs that provided comprehensive substance use treatment and other services for incarcerated parents of minor children and their family members. Grant-supported activities included providing evidence-based substance use and mental health treatment and services before and after release and comprehensive services to address family needs, such as family counseling, legal services, medical care, respite care, mental health services, nursery and preschool, parenting skills training, transportation, and vocational training.
For more information, see the most recent BJA grant solicitation from 2012.
Current and Past Grantees:
BJA and OJJDP have awarded a total of 148 Second Chance Act grants focused on supporting incarcerated parents and their families:
- Addressing the Needs of Incarcerated Parents with Minor Children: 45 grants
- Strengthening Relationships between Young Fathers, Young Mothers, and Their Children: 38 grants
- Strengthening Families and Children of Incarcerated Parents: 3 grants
- Adult Mentoring and Transitional Services for Successful Reentry Category 2: Promoting Successful Reentry through Responsible Fatherhood/Motherhood: 21 grants
- Family-Based Substance Use Treatment: 41 grants
For more information on the grantees, visit the OJP Award Data and check out related CSG Justice Center resources and grantee features:
- Minnesota Department of Health Leads Cross-County Collaboration to Support Families Impacted by Incarceration
- Strengthening and Maintaining Family Connections: Best Practices for Child-Friendly Visiting
- Tips for Engaging Caregivers of Children with Incarcerated Parents in Reentry Programming
- Second Chance Act Spotlight: Darius Dennis, Norfolk, Virginia
- Second Chance Act Spotlight: Byron Davis, Birmingham, Alabama
- Reentry Matters: Strategies and Successes of Second Chance Act Grantees (Second Chance Act 10th Anniversary Edition)
- Reentry Matters: Strategies and Successes of Second Chance Act Grantees