Children of Incarcerated Parents Meet with Officials to Discuss Policy Recommendations

Helping New York children with incarcerated parents is the goal of a summit meeting being held in Manhattan.

A group of kids who have parents in jail is meeting with government officials and representatives of the criminal justice system at New York Law School to talk about ways to help families stay connected.

Liz Gaynes is the executive director of the Osborne Association, which organized the conference. "We have young people describing what they need and some of the commissioners of some of New York's largest agencies being able to begin to think about what reforms for a new administration might we want to do," she said.

One of the young people on the panel is 14-year-old Raymond Rodriguez, who attends Manhattan's High School of Graphic Communication Arts and has a father in prison. He said transportation is a big reason he and other kids in his situation don't get to see their parents very often. "Most prisons are upstate, not really much in the city," he said, "And kids that live in the city, they're gonna have to travel six, seven, maybe even more hours."

Rodriguez, who spent some time in foster care before being reunited with relatives, wants government agencies to do more to help kids in the system stay with other family members.

Participants at the summit plan to produce a list of policy recommendations and present them to Mayor Bloomberg, Governor-elect Cuomo and legislative leaders next year.

Officials say more than 100,000 children in New York state have a parent behind bars.