Wednesday, January 2, 2013

An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice

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An Overview of Time of Arrest 

             Policy and Practice

                                    Dee Ann Newell, Director, Arkansas 

                                    Voices for the Children, Former 

                                    National Justice Fellow for the Bill of 

                                    Rights for Children of Incarcerated, 


                                    Yali Lincroft, Consultant to the Annie E. 

                                    Casey Foundation, 



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                     National Resources

Jessica Nickel, Crystal Garland, and Leah Kane,  Children of Incarcerated 

    Parents: An Action Plan for Federal Policymakers (2009), Justice Center ‐

    The Council of State Government


Steve Christian, Children of Incarcerated Parents (March 2009), National 

    Conference of State Legislature

Ginny Puddefoot and Lisa Foster, Keeping Children Safe When Their Parents 

    Are Arrested: Local Approaches that Work, California Research Bureau 

    (July 2007),

   WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)          2

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              Summary of CSG Report 


•   Children face both immediate and long term risk when a parent is 


•   Most law enforcement agencies have no policies to guide officers 

    responding when children are present at the scene of an arrest not 

    involving abuse or neglect.

•   Most law enforcement agencies have only formal protocols to coordinate 

    with CPS in case of abuse and neglect to respond to the needs of children 

    affected by parent’s arrest.


•   Several state and local governments have developed a variety of 

    programs, commissions, training and polices to better serve children at 

    the time of a parent’s arrest.

  WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)        3

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        Recommendations from CSG Report

1.    Support a review of law enforcement policies

2.    Encourage the development of policy standards at the local or state level 

      in cooperation with law enforcement

3.    Collect and disseminate program and policy examples from law 

      enforcement agencies

4.    Share widely best practices on developing formal partnership

5.    Develop systems to collect data

6.    Support the implementation of training and protocols to minimize 

      trauma to children

7.    Encourage local jurisdictions to adopt identified best practice

8.    Conduct additional research on the impact of parental arrest

    WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)          4

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    Summary of CA Research Bureau Report

Several factors increase success of joint approach to keeping children safe when their 

     parents are arrested including:

•   Timely response by child welfare staff to law enforcement requests

•   Co‐location (if possible) of child welfare service staff at law enforcement agency 


•   Cross‐training on roles and responsibilities of each participating agency

•    Designated liaison officer to review cases, handle questions and complaints, 

     problem solve and facilitate ongoing collaboration

The benefits of these approaches include:

•    Reduction in trauma to children

•    Reduction in law enforcement officer time at arrest scene

•    Increase goodwill between all parties (child, parent, police, community at will)

•    Reduction in number of children taken into formal child welfare services custody

•    Enhanced relationship between law enforcement and child welfare, in other areas, 

    such as information exchange

    WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)                     5

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“Lessons Learned” from the OSI Fellowship

•    TYPES OF CALLS:   When officers are arresting a parent and there is a child present, there may 

     be a need to discriminate between drug arrests and other felony arrests, when to contact 

     CPS in the former, and documenting the caregiver who comes for the latter, sharing the 

     caregiver names and info with CPS if they feel any concern.

•    REGIONAL DIFFERENCE:  In Arkansas, CPS calls were not welcomed by community since they 

     were unlikely to be placed with relatives, separated from siblings.  However, In Maine, CPS 

     was a desirable and helpful outcome for children in their state, with many relative caregivers 

     and an array of services that her relative caregivers did not want to be without.  A regional 

     policy would attempt to incorporate these variations, or a policy component could focus on 

     differential responses.

•    PLANNING GROUPS:  Who is invited to the planning process is very important. Our Drug‐

     Endangered Children Alliance is very active here in Arkansas, and in other places, and will 

     have the same response as Arkansas’s CPS does about drug arrests, and also have a motif of 

     hostility about the parent and their relatives, lumping all together. The educational training of 

     the officers and CPS about CIPS may need to be the first step, with the implementation of 

     policies coming out of the training.

    WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)                                 6

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      National Policies/Legislation

•  Yale University Child Study Center

•  California 

•   New Mexico

•   Pittsburgh, PA

•  Others?

                         WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest 


                           Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)

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Summary of the Yale University Child Study Center/National Center for Children

Exposed to Violence - Child Development – Community Policing Acute Response

                                      and Consultation Services

       Staffed 24-hours a day by a team of experienced clinicians, the Child Development

       – Community Policing (CD CP) program is a collaboration between the New Haven

       Department of Police Services and the Yale Child Study Center.  The program was

       conceived in the early 1990s to help traumatized children at the scene of arrests by

       providing clinicians who can come to the scene of the crime or an arrest, to offer

       counseling and support. New Haven police refer children to the Yale Child study

       Center for treatment and counseling in the wake of parental arrest and other

       traumas.  At weekly case conferences, police, probation officers, mental health

       workers, school representatives, and child welfare workers meet with clinicians to

       review cases involving children and police.        CD CP also provide training in child

       development for New Haven police officers and police supervisors are eligible for

       fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center.

   WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)                               8

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                            California Statutes

Chapter 635, Statutes of 2005 (AB760, Nava) –

     ed.pdf  This law provides that when, during booking, an arrested person is determined to be 

     a custodial parent of a minor child or children, the person is entitled to make two (2) 

     telephone calls at no expense, for the purpose of arranging for the care of the minor child or 


Chapter 729, Statutes of 2006 (AB 1942 (Nava) ‐‐06/bill/asm/ab_1901


     This law expresses the intent of the Legislature to encourage law enforcement and county 

     child welfare agencies to develop arrest protocols for a caretaker parent or guardian of a 

     minor child, to ensure the child’s safety and well‐being.  This law also directs the state 

     Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) to develop guidelines and 

     training for use by state and local law enforcement officers that address issues concerning 

     child safety when a caretaker parent or guardian is arrested.  Note: As a result of this law, 

     POST developed a 2‐hour training DVD on Keeping Children Safe at the Time of Parental 

     Arrest. This training DVD has been distributed to all law enforcement agencies in the state 

     and is supposed to be shown to all police officers.

                                       WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest 


                                         Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)

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                        CA POST DVD

POST stands for Police Officer’s 

   Standardized Training

The DVD is deliberately developed in 15 

    minute segments for the “roll call” 

   training format

Copies of the DVD must be requested via 

   the police department’s training liaison.

WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010) Page 10 of 14

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                                  Santa Clara, CA

•    Requirements that police officers check a box on the police report, responding either “Yes, 

     kids were present at the scene” or “No, no kids were present.”  If the officers check “Yes,” 

     they must then check whether they called Dept of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) 

     assistance or not.

•    A requirement, with some exceptions, that DFCS staff respond to a request to go to the scene 

     of an arrest WITHIN 30 MINUTES of receiving the call from law enforcement officers.

•    A requirement, with some exceptions, that police officers consult with DFCS staff before 

     transporting any child to the Children’s Shelter.  Children’s Shelter staff must then document 

     who brought the child and if appropriate consultation with DFCS staff occurred.

•    Once the hand‐over has occurred between child welfare and enforcement, usually in the 

     field, it is now child welfare’s responsibility to secure an adequate immediate placement and 

     continue with the child welfare dependency investigation.

•    As a result of the adoption of the joint protocol, there was 50% reduction in the number of 

     children transported to the Children’s Shelter who were instead diverted to family or other 

     appropriate caregivers.  Approximately 40% of the children were taken to the Children’s 

     Shelters by social workers instead of police officers, a substantial savings in both time and 

     resources for law enforcement and less traumatic for the children.

                                        WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest 


                                         Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)

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                          New Mexico

In 2006, Governor Richardson issued executive 

   order establishing a Blue Ribbon commission 

   to review impact of existing law enforcement 

   and correction policies on children whose 

   parents are arrested and incarcerated.  Report 

   had four major recommendations, including 

   creating statewide standard for law 

   enforcement to identify children on parental 

   arrest and ensure their needs were addressed.

    WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010) 12

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                                  New Mexico




Ensuring Child Safety Upon Parental Arrest” – ppt presentation (2008)

    Created by the Policy, Training and Federal Programs Bureau Protective Services for New 

    Mexico Children, Youth and Families, this 77‐page PowerPoint provides an overview of key 

    issues for law enforcement and child welfare to consider at the time of arrest.

                                   WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest 


                                     Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)

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                                  Pittsburgh, PA

     ort2.pdf  (Second Report to the Community, 2006)

Care for children when their parents are arrested

•    Pittsburgh Child Guidance Center’s study revealed that children can become “invisible” – and 

     sometimes are left alone and put in dangerous situations – at the time of their parents’ 

     arrests. In July 2006 Judge Kim Clark convened members of the law enforcement, child 

     welfare, health, and judicial communities and charged them with developing protocols for 

     the County’s 118 local police departments, training for officers, and community resources to 

     assist children, parents, and police officers at the time of arrest. This task group, cochaired by 

     the head of the County Office of Children, Youth and Families and the new Systems Advocate 

     for Children & Families of Prisoners, will complete its design phase in January 2007.  


    WEBINAR ‐An Overview of Time of Arrest Policy and Practice (January 28, 2010)                          14

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                    Arrest Protocols:

       Related Research and


                         Susan D. Phillips, PhD

        Jane Addams College of Social



Suggested citation:  Phillips, S.D., Arrest protocols: Related research and

implications. Presentation to Incarcerated Parents Webinar, January 2010.

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The Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated

   Parents: “I have the right to be kept safe and

   informed when my parent is arrested.”[1]

Claims made in support of arrest protocols:

    Parental arrest leads to children becoming

       involved with child welfare and entry into foster


    Children may be left without supervision.

    Parental arrest is traumatizing for children.

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What empirical evidence is there to support

   these claims?

What are the implications of current research

   for protocol development?

What are the research needs going forward?

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                                                  Claim 1

   Parental arrest leads to children

  becoming involved with the child

welfare system and to placement

                                              in foster care.

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Contact with CW

Nationally ~12% of children who are subjects of

   allegations of abuse have recently arrested


    Parent’s arrest not the main reason for contact in all of

       these cases (e.g., 27% victims of alleged physical abuse,

       9% victims of alleged sexual abuse).

Review of case records of children in OOH

   placements only in Texas: [3]

    Contact with CW was bc mother/father/both, or a relative

       caregiver were arrested in 12% of cases.

        Includes cases in which police are required to contact CW

          such as child abuse and neglect, drug arrests, domestic


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Contact with CW resulted in parental arrest in 6%

   of cases

CW contact and parental arrest were

   serendipitous in 2% of cases

Limitation: doesn’t provide information about

    cases in which children were not removed from

   their parent’s care.

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Nationally, recent parental arrest is only modestly

   associated with placement in OOH care (includes

   relative placements)[2]

Texas case records of children in OOH placements


    Mothers’ and fathers’ arrest histories were

       considered in removal decision in 33% of cases

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Placement in Non-relative Foster care

Nationally, once children are removed, placement in

   non-relative foster care is predicted by: [2]

    Severity of child emotional and behavioral problems

    # of different problems family is experiencing

    Not by recent parental arrest

Texas case records of children in OOH placements:


    Grandmothers’/fathers’ and other relatives arrest histories

       were factor in decision to place children in foster care in

       25% of cases

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Parental arrest is the main reason children come in

   contact with CW in less than 12% of cases

Contact with CW can be triggered by the arrest of

   mothers, fathers, or relative caregivers

Officers are working under a variety of protocols and


Outcome of contact is affected by factors other than

   parent’s current arrest

    Parents’ and relatives’ arrest histories

    Child emotional and behavioral problems

    # of different problems

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We do not have a clear baseline upon which

   to judge whether arrest protocols make a

   difference in terms of significantly reducing

   CW involvement

Arrest protocols will not always prevent CW

   contact bc officers are working under a

   variety of protocols

Arrest protocols will not always prevent foster

   care placement

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                                                 Claim 2

Children left without supervision

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Probably a rare event (but still important!)

     Texas case records: [3] 1%

        parent was in prison,

        children living alone,

        relatives paying the rent

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American Bar Association Study [4] and,

   more recently, CRB [5], examined law

   enforcement policies and practices:

    CRB found officers inquire about children at risk

       of being left unattended when parents are


        42% of time if children are present

        39% when arrestee volunteers info about children

        12% when there is evidence of a child (e.g., car seat)

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                                            Claim 3

Children are traumatized by

                                     parental arrest

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Extremely limited empirical research.

   Researchers are catching up with the field on

   this issue.

Most of what we know is anecdotal [5,6,7]:

    Children are frightened

    Feel like they, too, are under arrest

    Anxious bc they don’t know what will happen to

       them or their parents

No info on frequency

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How often are children


Info based on arrests: millions of arrests each

   year, but don’t know what proportion involve

   parents or in how many instances children

   are present.

Info obtained from parents

    Mothers in jail in California [8]: ~20% had a child

       present when arrested

    New Mexico [info from director of PB&J cited in (5)]: 32% of

       mothers in sate prison and 26% of fathers indicated

       children witnessed their arrest

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Arkansas [9]: mothers and fathers in jail, a

   community corrections facility, and in a residential

   drug treatment program who had history of arrest

     40% reported their children witnessed at lest one of

       their arrests

     Circumstances of arrest vary

        27%: officers’ weapons were drawn (more common when

         fathers were arrested)

        Some parents reported police screaming at their children,

         and interrogating and searching children

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Others described police as sensitive and concerned

    helped them arrange for someone to come get their children

    Gave parent a chance to explain what was happening

    Officers explained what was happening

    30% of mothers and 3% of fathers said officers waited until

      they were out of sight of their children to handcuff them

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Are children traumatized?

Kampfner [10]:

    Interviews with 36 children in child visitation program

    No standardized measure of trauma symptoms

    “even though many of the children…had been separated

       from their mothers for 2 to 3 years, each child could still

       vividly remember his or her mother’s arrest and his or her

       experience in the courtroom [emphasis added]”

    “75% of children had symptoms consistent with PTS

       including depression, difficulty sleeping, concentration

       problems, and flashbacks about their mother’s crimes and

       arrest [emphasis added]”.

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Bocknek, Sanderson, & Britner [11]

    35 children in mentoring program

    Standardized measure

    77% scored in the clinical range for symptoms of PTSD

    This specific group of children was more likely to have

       elevated PTS symptoms than were the children upon

       whom the norms were based

    Generalizability beyond the study is unclear

    Doesn’t rule out other possible explanations for symptoms

       (e.g., child abuse, community violence)

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NSCAW [12]

    Children ages 8+ who were subjects of reports of


        38% ever witnessed arrest of a household member

        12% had recently arrested parent

        6% had both

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Children 8 and up who were subjects of reports of


Ever witnessed the     Parent was      Sample      Estimated     Estimated     Elevated PTS Symptoms

     arrest of a         recently          n           Pop.          Pop.         Est. Pop. Proportion

household member        arrested                   Frequency     Proportion     (% of subgroup) (SE)

                                                        N=          %(SE)

        Yes                Yes             122        46,144       5.7 (1.0)           27.4 (8.8)

        Yes                 No             519       268,285      33.0 (2.4)           15.7 (2.9)

        No                 Yes             118        47,759       5.9 (1.2)             3.9 (1.4)

        No                  No             803       451,791      55.5 (2.7)           10.3 (2.1)

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Children who witnessed the arrest of a member of

    their household (not just a parent)

     Compared to children who never witnessed arrests

        Witnessed more acts of violence in their homes (including

         shootings, stabbings)

        Were victims of more acts of violence in their homes

          (including being threatened with knifes and guns)

        More likely to witness people in their homes deal drugs or


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Controlling for the above differences, type of

   maltreatment and other factor that might predict

   PTS, witnessing the arrest of a household member

   is a significant predictor of PTS

Highest rates of elevated PTS symptoms were

   among children who witnessed an arrest and whose

   parent was also recently arrested

The recent arrest of a parent alone was not

   associated with PTS

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Not just parental arrest, but witnessing the

   arrest of any household member may be

   traumatic for children

    Needs to be replicated with younger children and

       with children who are involved with CW

Some children have seen multiple arrests.

   Symptoms may be present when officers

   make arrest.

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We don’t know how variations in arrests

   influence trauma symptoms (e.g., use of

   force, shelter placements, post-arrest contact

   with parent, arrest outcomes, trial-related


Making arrest less frightening and anxiety-

   provoking for children is a great idea, but to

   claim that arrest protocols make arrest less

   traumatic, we must know if children had

   symptoms to begin.

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Child mental health needs to be included in

   protocol development

Mental health professionals need training to

   understand potential significance of

   screening for trauma

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What works?

Most evaluated model is Yale’s CP-CD

    A response to community violence

    Cross training social workers and police

What to evaluate?

    What exactly is being implemented?

    What intensity, duration, and follow-up training is needed to

       change officers knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors?

    Do changes in police behavior lead to better child





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How to we begin to build a

knowledge base?

Who’s collecting what data?

How can it be made available?

Are their opportunities for cross-jurisdictional


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San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership. (2003).

    Children of incarcerated parents, A bill of rights. Available from San Francisco: Author.

Phillips, S. D., Burns, B. J., Wagner, H. R., & Barth, R. P. (2004). Parental

   arrest and children in child welfare services agencies. American Journal of

    Orthopsychiatry, 2, 174-186.

Phillips, S. D., Dettlaff, A. J., & Baldwin, M. J. (Online First). An exploratory

   study of the range of implications of families’ criminal justice system

    involvement in child welfare cases. Children and Youth Services Review.

Smith, B. E., & Elstein, S. G. (1994). Children on hold: improving the

   response to children whose parents are arrested and incarcerated.

   Washington DC: American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law.

Nieto, M. (2002). In danger of falling through the cracks: Children of

    arrested parents. Sacramento: California Research Bureau, California State

    Library. Available from

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Bernstein, N. (2005). All alone in the world: Children of the incarcerated .

   NY: The New Press.

Puddefoot, G., & Foster, L. K. (2007). Keeping children safe when their

   parents are arrested: Local approaches that work. Sacramento: California

    Research Bureau, California State Library. Available from

Johnston, D., & Gabel, K. (1995). Jailed mothers. In K. Gabel & D. Johnston

   (Eds.), Children of Incarcerated Parents (pp. 41-56). NY: Free Press.

Harm, N. J., & Phillips, S. D. (1998). Helping children cope with the

   trauma of parental arrest. Interdisciplinary report on at-risk children

   and families, 1, 35-36.

Kampfner, C. J. (1995). Post-traumatic stress reactions of children of

   imprisoned mothers. In K. Gable & D. Johnston (Eds.), Children of

   Incarcerated Parents. NY: Lexington Books.

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Bocknek, E. L., Sanderson, J., & Britner, P. A. (2008). Ambiguous loss and

    posttraumatic stress in school-age children of prisoners Journal of Child and

   Family Studies, 18, 323-333.

Phillips, S. D., & Zhao, J. (under review). The relationship between

   witnessing arrests and elevated symptoms of posttraumatic stress: Findings

   from a national study of children involved in the child welfare system.

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