By Farah Verlus BA in Criminal justice, MA candidate in criminology. Rutgers University Camden
This years Annual Children of Incarcerated Parents National Conference was produced by the Center for Child Wellbeing at Arizona State University and streamed via Zoom to allow for attendees from all over the country to participate. As a first-year graduate student and first year attendee of the conference I was absolutely blown away. The conference consisted of three days of events, included a multitude of speakers, resources, engagement sessions, and opportunities to network. Three Plenary Sessions focused attention on Research, Youth Voices and Trauma & Resiliency respectively. In addition, each hour had two different sessions to choose from and always ended with opening the floor to questions, which provided a wealth of information. For instance, during the first day of events I had the pleasure of attending the session “Parenting from Afar” which was led by Shari Scher, Founder of a Maryland Program that supports incarcerated parents. This session proved to be one of my favorites as it provided guest speakers with lived experience so it came from the incarcerated parent’s point of view. Statistical research showing the importance of maternal and paternal bonds with children of incarcerated parents was also included.
Many of the other sessions I attended such as “Family Involvement Center/Parents 4 Parents”, “Reform and Research”, “Linking Generations by Strengthen Relationships” and many many more, all provided insight on children with incarcerated parents, the family unit, resources, and the criminal legal system. One major take away for myself would be how important lived experiences and the voice of the children are to this whole entire process. There were many stories shared that provided insight that I could not have gotten from a textbook or research data set analysis. In summary, The attendees represented programs, public policy initiatives, research institutions and also included those with lived experience. The speakers provided access to additional resources and also discussed ways to support the community of all those impacted by incarceration. Many of the sessions were recorded and can be accessed through Whova web or app if a ticket to the event was already purchased. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate and I can’t wait until next year’s conference.
For more information on accessing conference sessions and to request information about the 2023 Conference contact
Senior Program Coordinator
Arizona State University
ASU Center for Child Well-Being
400 E. Van Buren, Suite 800, Mail Code 3220 | Phoenix, Arizona | 85004
email@example.com | childwellbeing.asu.edu