What happens to your kids when you are arrested?

Being arrested in front of kids is upsetting for both parents and children.  Children may or may not even understand what is happening, depending on their age. Older kids will likely understand what is going on and may mostly need reassurance and someone to be with them. Younger children can be distracted with food, games, or toys. They can also be told that mommy or daddy is going to play cops and robbers and will be back soon. Depending on the situation, it might also be possible for someone to remove children of any age to another location.

Ideally another parent or responsible adult will be with you who can provide reassurance and care for all of the children while the parent who is being arrested is away. While the law does not require that an arresting person allow you to arrange for childcare while you’re in jail, if your children are with you when you’re arrested you may be allowed to find care for your kids before being taken to jail. You should contact another responsible adult, preferably someone your children know, to care for them while you are incarcerated. If your kids are not with you at the time of your arrest, you should attempt to let the person, school, daycare, or other organization that has them know what has happened to you. They will most certainly try to contact you when you do not arrive to pick your kids up, and when they are unable to contact you they will reach out to any emergency contacts you have left information for and attempt to contact them. If you have not left information for any emergency contacts or if they are unable to reach any emergency contacts, they may contact local police or possibly even child protective services.

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