Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents

The arrest of a parent can have a significant traumatic impact on children, including shock, immense fear, anxiety, or anger towards the arresting officers. Recently, there has been an emphasis placed on examining the effects of these events on children and the ways in which law enforcement can provide them with assistance, but clear guidance for law enforcement agencies has not been made widely available until now.

With support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, the IACP offers no-cost training and technical assistance for law enforcement through the Children of Arrested Parents (CAP) Project. This project provides resources for law enforcement to mitigate trauma experienced by children who have parents that are involved in the criminal justice system.

Children of Arrested Parents Advisory Working Group
The IACP has convened an Advisory Working Group comprised of law enforcement executives, federal partners, child welfare and child advocates, and subject matter experts. The Advisory Working Group provides expertise and guidance for the Children of Arrested Parents project.

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Model Policy
This publication presents the wide range of challenges that law enforcement officers face surrounding the arrest of parents and the corresponding impact on children under their supervision. The Model Policy identifies policies and procedures that law enforcement can implement to help mitigate the potential trauma to children during the arrest of a parent, whether or not they are home at the time.  Download it now!



The IACP will host an online webinar series based on material from the Model Policy. The webinars will focus on various topics related to safeguarding children of arrested parents, and will feature moderated discussions from subject-matter experts across the nation. Webinars will be recorded and archived for ongoing law enforcement access.

“Protecting Children of Arrested Parents: Using a Trauma-Informed Approach”
November 5, 2014, 3:00 to 4:00 PM EST
This presentation provided an in-depth look at the traumatic effects of parental arrest on children, and provided best practice recommendations and strategies for law enforcement to  prevent or mitigate trauma to children during and after the arrest of a parent. View the webinar recording and download the handouts.  

“Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents during Investigative and Tactical Operations”
December 9, 2014, 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST
Panelists discussed the potential risks to children of arrested parents during tactical and investigative operations, and provided strategies and best practice recommendations for law enforcement to mitigate these risks. Resources were provided to assist law enforcement agencies in developing and implementing a policy to safeguard children during these operations. View the webinar recording and download the handouts. 

"Collaborating with Community Partners to Safeguard Children of Arrested Parents" 
January 14, 2015, 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST
Webinar panelists highlighted strategies for law enforcement to collaborate with child welfare services and other community partners to ensure the best outcomes for children of arrested parents. View the webinar recording and download the handouts


Resources in Development

  • Training Curricula: Two classroom training curricula based on the Model Policy are currently in development: a 15-minute Executive Briefing and a 1½ - 2 hour training workshop for line officers.
  • Training Resources: In conjunction with the training curricula, the IACP is developing a Fact Sheet and a Resource Brief targeted to Chiefs and Police Executives. These resources will be given out at training events and workshops, and will also be made available for electronic download.
  • Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Roll Call Training Video: Short video intended to introduce the Model Policy to law enforcement agencies across the nation.
  • Online Training: A self-paced, interactive, online training will be based on the classroom curriculum and the Model Policy.


Conference Workshops

Conference presentations on the CAP Model Policy will be delivered at the following events:

  • IACP 2014 Annual Conference – Orlando, Florida
    October 26, 2014
  • National Sheriffs Association (NSA) Winter Conference – Washington, DC
    January 22, 2015
  • IACP Mid-Sized Agencies Section Midyear Meeting –San Antonio, TX
    February 28, 2015
  • IACP State Association of Chiefs of Police Division Midyear Meeting - San Antonio, TX
    February 28, 2015
  • IACP State and Provincial Police Division Midyear Meeting – Alexandria, VA
    March 27, 2015
  • National Sheriff’s Association Annual Summer Conference - Baltimore, MD
    June 30, 2015



Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Model Policy
Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents: An Overview (Training Key Part I)
Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents: Coordination and Response (Training Key Part II)
Pre-Arrest/Arrest Checklist
IACP Youth Focused Policing Website
Bureau of Justice Assistance
Police Chief  Article: The San Francisco Police Department collaborated with the IACP to produce an article, published in IACP’s January 2015 issue of Police Chief  Magazine, providing practical tips and strategies from the Model Policy.


For more information, please contact Program Manager Kelly Burke at
or 800-843-4227 ext. 842.



This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement Number #2010-DJ-BX-K002 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

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