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Protecting Children of Arrested Parents: Steps for Developing and Implementing an Effective Policy

NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 82 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2015 Pages: 52-55
Rachael Kilshaw
Date Published
January 2015
4 pages
This article outlines the four-step process developed by the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) for addressing the physical and emotional needs of children whose parents are arrested.
The four steps in developing such a protocol are to take a collaborative approach; define the desired outcomes; develop the policy; and implement the policy. Collaboration involves the law enforcement agency contacting representatives of community organizations and advocacy groups with an interest in children's welfare in order to include them in consultations on the needs of and services for the children of arrested parents. As a result of such collaborative discussions, the desired outcomes of the protocol for these children are framed in the second phase of the protocol's development. The paramount objective is a reduction in the effects of trauma on children due to the arrest of a parent. The third phase is the development of procedural policy that facilitates the achievement of the protocol's desired outcome. The nine protocol procedures developed by the SFPD collaboration are outlined. The fourth phase is to implement the policy. This involves training police officers and other members of the collaboration essential to the provision of comprehensive services for the children of arrested parents. It also involves ensuring that personnel and financial resources are available for essential services and that procedures and outcomes are monitored to ensure compliance and measure the outcome.