N.H. Child Advocate: State Could Do More to Help Children with Incarcerated Parents

May 10, 2019

N.H. Child Advocate Moira O'Neill.
Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire's Child Advocate says the Department of Corrections and the Division for Children, Youth and Families could do more to protect children from the negative experiences of having their parent incarcerated.

Studies show when a parent goes to jail, it can have long-term mental and emotional impacts on their children.

One way to mitigate that is to maintain a relationship through visitation or regular communication between the parent and child. At the state prison, a Family Connection Center is supposed to facilitate that connection.

But in a report released Friday afternoon, Child Advocate Moira O'Neill says poor communication between DOC and DCYF have created unnecessary obstacles.

Among the issues raised in the report are that incarcerated parents need to communicate with DCYF caseworkers by email but the prison charges a fee for prisoners to send and receive emails.