Parental Incarceration and Child Wellbeing in Fragile Families

By Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, Princeton University

April 1, 2008


The brief identifies the statistically significant findings from the Fragile Families Study; more than 4,800 children were followed for 5 years. The researchers examined the impact of the incarceration of fathers and mothers of these children and compared how the outcomes were different for each parent’s incarceration. 

Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Incarceration of Either Parent Increases a Child’s Risk.

The incarceration of a child’s father or mother increases a child’s risk. While a father’s incarceration increases the most number of risk factors across economic, family stability and child wellbeing outcomes, a mother’s incarceration increases the risk of a child’s contact with the foster care system and in experiencing residential moves.

Findings & Stats