Golden Gate University Law Review


This article will discuss the development of the laws concerning children with incarcerated parents. Ultimately, the goal is to encourage states like California to (1) expand the law regarding reasonable efforts even further, (2) encourage California prisons to take into consideration exceptions for children and incarcerated parents in implementing prison policies, and (3) provide other states with a model for proposing new laws that can be put into practice. The background of this article will explain the federal implementation of The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) and the necessary changes California made to state law after the enactment of ASFA, as well as the policy behind California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) visitation regulations. First, the article will discuss visitation as a reasonable effort and how visitation is viewed through the CDCR. Next, the article will examine the inconsistencies between California dependency law offering visitation and other reasonable efforts and CDCR’s view on visitation for incarcerated individuals. Finally, the article will provide recommendations for California dependency law and the CDCR to work together to create exceptions for the unique relationship between parent and child. This includes how the CDCR and state dependency laws can coexist to create a relationship, including visitation between children and incarcerated parents if it is within the best interest of the child.