New York, August 15, 2013—Columbia Law School Professor Philip M. Genty has been invited by the White House Office of Public Engagement to speak about the legal and social policy implications of addressing the needs of prisoners’ children and families at an August 20 conference.
The conference, funded by the National Science Foundation, will bring together scholars and policymakers across a variety of professional disciplines.
In his 2012 Family Court Review article, Genty argues that society should take a more individualized, qualitative approach when adopting policies that affect the children and families of incarcerated persons. As an example, he points to a New York State law that allows for an exception to a federal statute requiring the termination of parental rights after a child has been in foster care for 15 months—far shorter than the average prison sentence—when certain family-specific factors are met. Genty consulted with the Correctional Association of New York on its efforts to get the law passed.
“Parental incarceration involves interplay of complex issues,” Genty writes in the article. “Only by discarding preconceptions and simplistic approaches, can we hope to provide appropriate services and support for children and families affected by parental incarceration. There are no easy answers or shortcuts. Careful, sensitive, labor-intensive effort—informed by actual knowledge about the individual families—is required.”
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