About US


The Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents [CCIP] was founded in1989 by Denise Johnston and Katherine Gabel. Our mission is the prevention of intergenerational crime and incarceration. Our goals are the production of high quality documentation on and the development of model services for children of criminal offenders and their families.

CCIP was based at Pacific Oaks College from 1989 until 1998. The Pacific Oaks emphasis on developmental perspective had a profound effect on CCIP philosophy, service design and practice. The developmental concepts, approach, principles of practice and interventions utilized by CCIP are outlined in the forthcoming handbook, “Working with Criminal Offenders and Their Children”.

CCIP developed its research, publications and services in four components:

The Center began developing educational projects and materials for clients in 1990 when we created the Prison Parents’ Education Project [PPEP] for women being sent to the new Central California Women’s Facility at Chowchilla. Since then, CCIP has conducted dozens of educational projects and produced 14 curricula. Our curriculum manuals are sold through the CCIP Clearinghouse; topics include:

·         parent education for prisoners;

·         parent empowerment;

·         parent education for substance-dependent parents in treatment;

·         parent education for elementary school children;

·         family life education;

·         health education for incarcerated mothers;

·         women’s issues;

·         the effects of trauma and violence on children;

·         mentor training; and

·         parent advocacy for prisoners.

CCIP offers our education projects in three formats. Correspondence courses are available to prisoners nationwide. Courses taught by CCIP staff are offered regionally. We also train instructors to teach CCIP curricula; this service is offered nationally. In 17 years of operations, CCIP has provided education services to more than 5000 clients.

Family Reunification
The first CCIP client service was the Child Custody Advocacy Services [CHICAS] Project, which provides assistance to prisoners and other criminal offenders with child custody, child placement or related issues. CHICAS is a national project serving incarcerated parents throughout the United States.

Our Family Reunification services also include the MotherRight and FatherRight Projects, which are designed to foster healthy parenting by promoting healthy sexuality, healthy reproduction and healthy relationships among clients and their families. These projects are offered to parents in prison and in various community settings.

The MIRACLE Project offers comprehensive services, including case management, to pregnant, jailed women and their families.  MIRACLE enrolls pregnant prisoners in Los Angeles County Jails and the California Institution for Women, a state prison.

Other CCIP Family Reunification projects have provided parent mentoring, family support services, child and caregiver support groups, referrals and placements for families that are failing to supervise their children, and entrepreneurial training for children of prisoners. More than 40 projects have been offered in this component and approximately 6500 clients have received CCIP Family Reunification services since 1989.

Therapeutic Services
This component includes four projects:

The Early Therapeutic Intervention Project [ETIP] was developed in 1990, providing free-standing therapeutic services to young children of criminal offenders. ETIP was discontinued in 1992.

The Therapeutic Intervention Project [TIP] offers site-based therapeutic services to children of criminal offenders. Conducted in public schools or similar community sites since 1991, TIP provides comprehensive services to families of criminal offenders, including:

·         Children’s services: group and individual therapy; developmental skills-building activities; mentoring; and/or social-recreational activities.

·         Services to children’s caregivers: parent advocacy meetings; parent/caregiver support groups; parent education; and/or case management.

·         Services to teachers or other site staff: training and/or support groups.

The Attachments Project was developed in 1995. Attachments serves women offenders living with their infants and young children in residential treatment settings. It provides individual and group therapy, support groups and developmental interventions for mothers; attachment-building and other developmental interventions for children; and staff training on attachment and other developmental issues.

The Developmental Education & Enhancement Project [DEEP] provides mentoring for children of prisoners.  There have been several DEEP models, including intensive, therapeutic mentoring.  DEEP currently provides mentors for up to 75 children in Los Angeles County.

More than 1800 index children and over 6500 of their family members have received therapeutic services from the Center since 1991.

This component includes the CCIP Clearinghouse, the CCIP Journal, training and technical assistance activities, research and advocacy efforts.

The CCIP Clearinghouse project offers a collection of over 3500 documentary and audiovisual items that can be purchased online or by mail through two catalogs.  The Clearinghouse offers two expanded catalogs in 2006.  Our General Catalog can be viewed online. By mail, through the Catalog for Incarcerated Parents, we offer more than 200 items free of charge to prisoners and their families.

The CCIP Journal is our newsletter.  The Journal is published irregularly and is available online on our website and by regular mail.

CCIP has conducted 15 major research projects since 1990, including the landmark “Children of Offenders” and “Children of Criminal Offenders & Foster Care” studies. Reports of these studies are available through the Clearinghouse in the CCIP Research Monograph Series.

Also within this component, CCIP has served over 400 agencies and organizations, providing training and/or technical assistance to professionals who work with criminal offenders and their families.

Formerly incarcerated parents have played a central role in the Center’s founding and in the development and articulation of the conceptual basis for Center research, service design and practice.  In addition, formerly incarcerated persons have always made up the majority of CCIP employees. Nevertheless, CCIP has a diverse staff. At the senior level, CCIP Advisors are a group of nationally recognized academicians and professionals with expertise in a variety of areas related to CCIP research and practice. CCIP direct service staff members have always been reflective in race, culture and ethnicity of the population of clients they serve. In 2006-07, the CCIP staff is 46% African American, 15% European American, 23% Latina, 8% Native American and 8% biracial; among staff members, 62% are former offenders, another 39% are children of current or former prisoners, and 15% are both.


Every other year, CCIP offers fellowships for incarcerated parents.  In each fellowship cycle, two incarcerated parents are selected to work with CCIP for a period of 12-24 months.  CCIP Fellows conduct research, contribute to curricula, write articles and collaborate in other ways with our staff to advance knowledge about children of prisoners and their families.  Fellowships include an offer of guaranteed post-release employment with CCIP.