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 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 provided 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!

Roll Call Training Video

BJA and the IACP collaborated on the creation of the Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Roll Call Training Video based on the IACP/BJA Model Policy. This short video (16:42 minutes) is intended to introduce the Model Policy to law enforcement agencies. It provides an introduction and overview of the issue and discusses the scope of the problem and the challenges for responding officers. It outlines implementation at the agency and officer levels and includes pre-arrest, arrest, booking, documentation and follow-up to ensure children of arrested parents are safeguarded. It includes interviews with law enforcement leaders, police officers, mental health practitioners, and children of arrested parents.

Watch here.

Classroom Training Resources

Training Curricula: Two classroom training curricula, two roll-call training keys, and a pre-arrest/arrest checklist, all based on the Model Policy, are available for download.

15-minute Police Executive Briefing

1.5 hour Line Officer Training

Other Classroom Training Resources

Online Training

A self-paced, interactive, online training based on the classroom curriculum and the Model Policy is available. This 1.5 hour training is designed to educate front-line officers in best practices for conducting arrests of parents, both when children are present and when they are not. The information outlines procedures for ensuring children's safety and well-being throughout the parental arrest process. Learn more or register now!


The IACP hosted an online webinar series based on material from the Model Policy. The webinars focused on various topics related to safeguarding children of arrested parents, and featured moderated discussions from subject-matter experts across the nation. Webinars were 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

“Developing a Policy to Protect Children of Arrested Parents“
June 15, 2015, 1:00 to 2:30 PM EST
Webinar panelists represented the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints, the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership, and Project WHAT! Webinar panelists provided guidance on the planning and implementation process of a police departmental policy to protect children at the time of parental arrest. Resources were provided to assist law enforcement agencies in developing and implementing relevant policies in their agency. View the webinar and download the handouts.

"Preparing to Launch: Q & A on Implementing Parental Arrest Policies to Safeguard Children" 
July 30, 2015, 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST 
 During this webinar, the Albany, New York, Chief of Police shared his experience in developing and implementing a parental arrest policy in a mid-sized police department. Attendees had the opportunity to ask panelists, representing the areas of law enforcement, child psychology, and community partners, questions regarding law enforcement agency parental arrest policies and procedures. Resources were provided to assist law enforcement agencies in developing and implementing a policy in their agency. View the webinar recording and download the handouts.

"Parental Arrest Policies and Protecting Children: Training Your Department" 
January 20, 2016, from 4:00 to 5:00PM EST 
This webinar provided training guidance for police departments on parental arrest policies that safeguard children. Resources were shared that can be utilized for roll call training in police agencies nationwide. View the webinar recording and download the handouts.

Additional Resources

Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Model Policy 
Safeguarding Children of Arrested Parents Tip Sheet
Implementing a Parental Arrest Policy to Safeguard Children: A Guide for Police Executives
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.

Conference Workshops

Conference presentations on the CAP Model Policy have been 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

Other Resources

IACP Youth Focused Policing Website 
Bureau of Justice Assistance


For more information, please contact Project Manager Sabrina Rhodes at 
or 800-843-4227 ext. 831