Services for incarcerated parents

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is committed to working with incarcerated parents. Just because you are behind bars doesn’t mean you lose your right to be a parent. However, it is up to you to take an active role in your child’s life, even from jail or prison.

Quick tips

  • Read through the Parent Handbook. It is a guide for parents with children in placement and will help answer many of your questions.
  • Keep track of phone numbers for your child’s case manager and lawyer.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, call your case manager and other professionals who work with your family.

Keeping in touch with your child

You have a right to regular in-person visits unless a judge has ordered otherwise. If you are not receiving visits, you can contact the CUA case manager by phone or by letter to request visits. You should also let your lawyer know you want visits. Sometimes, video conferencing can be used an alternative to in-person visits if your child is unable to travel to the prison to see you.

You can send cards and letters for your child to the CUA worker, or to the foster or kinship address if you know it. Ask your CUA case manager or the kinship or foster parent by phone or by letter for any photos or updates regarding your child.

Participating in team meetings about your child or children

Many Philadelphia Prison System facilities have video-conferencing capability. Ask the CUA case manager to video-conference you into meetings about your child.

If you have any complaints or questions regarding your DHS case, please contact the Commissioner’s Action Response Office (CARO) at (215) 683-6000 or