Treating Parental Incarceration as Childhood Trauma: Revolutionizing Clinical Services using an Anti-Racist Community Practice Model

Monday, September 24, 2018 | 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

NYU Silver School of Social Work
1 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003

NYSED and ACE Approved for 6 CE contact hours


This presentation expands on the dialogue regarding children of incarcerated parents by recognizing that the phenomenon known as mass incarceration is associated with conscious and unconscious racial practices in clinical practice that affect children of incarcerated parents. Contextual factors like structural racism compound the impacts of mass incarceration on children and have the potential to create inherent biases in clinicians and the general population alike. This presentation explores and recommends solutions to “anti-blackness” in clinical practice, which refers to the unconscious racist beliefs and practices that fail to account for the historical and contextual needs and issues specific to populations affected by mass incarceration.

Children of Promise, NYC was the first to establish this community practice orientation using evidence-informed treatment modalities with the specific population of children of incarcerated parents. Trauma symptoms exhibited by children and adolescents, generally follow a similar symptomatology: depression, anger, isolating and self-harming behaviors, cognitive distortions, and escalated symptoms of physical distress. Therefore, this trauma-focused modality is applicable to the treatment of the childhood trauma of parental incarceration just as to other forms of childhood trauma. This presentation explores the psychological manifestation of trauma symptoms related to parental incarceration and lays the groundwork for the implementation of Children of Promise, NYC’s community-based treatment modality.

Through its integration of the micro-level clinical interventions, along with the mezzo and macro-level identification of the historical and present day oppression of parental incarceration, attendees will gain a holistic approach to identifying the trauma of parental incarceration and best practices in treating children of incarcerated parents.

Learning Objectives


  • Understand historical oppression and mass incarceration through the lens of anti-blackness in clinical practice on a micro, mezzo, and macro level.     
  • Identify parental incarceration as a newly recognized form of trauma and the post-traumatic symptoms exhibited by children of incarcerated parents.   
  • Speak to the efficacy of evidence-based and evidence-informed treatment models, including Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Systems Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Community Psychiatry as best practices for clinical treatment with children of incarcerated parents.
  • Develop an increased capacity to interrupt the profound impact of mass incarceration on children, families, and communities and identify the skills necessary to target and dismantle anti-blackness in clinical practice.


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Dr. Anna Morgan-Mullane, DSW, LCSW-R

Dr. Morgan-Mullane, LCSW-R serves as Vice President of Mental Health Services for Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC). Dr. Morgan-Mullane conducts an extensive training program for MSW interns, licensed social workers, psychiatrists, and art therapists onsite of CPNCY that allows everyone to gain critical culturally responsive therapeutic skills needed to support children impacted by parental incarceration.

In 2012, Dr. Morgan-Mullane supported her CEO Ms. Sharon Content in the successful establishment of the first Article 31 mental health clinic in the United States for children of incarcerated parents at CPNYC. Dr. Morgan-Mullane has also developed clinical policies and practice guidelines and launched an evidence-based treatment model which includes the employment of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, complex trauma systems theory, and Mitigation Practices, which are all at the forefront of trauma-informed clinical practices for children of incarcerated parents. With over a decade of clinical practice, Dr. Morgan-Mullane’s work explores the intersection of clinical social work, social policy, and criminal justice. She is currently presenting her research across the country which focuses on the intergenerational effects of incarceration, the unique psychological factors experienced by children of incarcerated parents, and the causes and effects of mass incarceration. Dr. Morgan-Mullane is also an adjunct lecturer in the NYU Silver School of Social Work where she teaches a course she developed on the intersectionality of criminal justice reform and mental health implications for those impacted by mass incarceration. Dr. Morgan-Mullane recently presented her research at the NASW-NYC Third and Fourth Annual CE Conference and at the Global Prison Conference in South Africa at the University of Johannesburg. Dr. Morgan-Mullane was asked to develop a 6-hour CE Training and Workshop this past fall for the NASW on her recently published work in the Clinical Social Work Journal on her research of the efficacy of trauma-informed practice and children of incarcerated parents. This summer she presented her program model at the National NASW conference in Washington D.C.

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Joshua Ware, LMSW

Joshua Ware, LMSW is a clinical social worker for Mental Health Services Corp. and is placed at SUNY Downstate’s Family Health clinic. Mr. Ware is a Silberman Alum. Mr. Ware’s focus is on dismantling the stigma of depression and anxiety within the Black/Caribbean community in order to foster healing and self-love. Mr. Ware’s work primarily involves psychotherapy with adults whom would not be able to afford mental health services otherwise. Mr. Ware has also done messo and macro work around dismantling the system of hyper incarceration through co-creating a curriculum for a college level course at Sing Sing Correctional Facility as well as co-creating MICS (Mass Incarceration Conversation Series) events. Mr.Ware has also presented his work around dismantling anti-blackness in social work with Children of Promise, NYC at the NASW NYC Chapter Conference as well as the National Conference in D.C. He has also co-conducted trainings for nonprofits.

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Paul Silverman, LMSW

Paul is a clinical social worker at the Children of Promise, NYC Wellness Center. His primary area of focus is the trauma-focused psychotherapeutic treatment for children and families impacted by incarceration. Through a holistic treatment approach that encompasses clinical practice alongside policy and legal-advocacy work and case management support. Mr. Silverman’s work with children impacted by incarceration provides a breadth of environmental support aimed at breaking cycles of intergenerational mass incarceration. Mr. Silverman’s work with incarcerated populations began as a writing tutor in the Wesleyan University’s college in prison program, following which he continued his work in education as a teacher in the Brooklyn school system.
Mr. Silverman received his MSW from Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work.