What Do Incarcerated Parents Need to Know About ACS?

The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is the New York City agency responsible for protecting children. For a parent who has to deal with ACS, the process can be intimidating because ACS has the power to remove children in cases of abuse or neglect. Parents who are incarcerated are much more likely to face an ACS investigation than other parents, but there are resources available to help — as long as they know how to access them.

CUP teamed up with public defenders from The Bronx Defenders and Brooklyn Defender Services who are experts in advocating for parental rights in the ACS process, and designer Manuel Miranda to create What Do Incarcerated Parents Need to Know About ACS? This pamphlet shows how ACS’s complicated investigation process works, and helps incarcerated parents understand what they can do to make sure they get the best results for their family.

For an incarcerated mother or father, staying engaged in their children’s lives while they are incarcerated, and showing up in court for hearings about their family are critical steps to maintaining their parental rights. This pamphlet helps parents understand when those hearings happen, and how to get help staying connected to their children.

Resources & Links

The Bronx Defenders provides holistic and client-centered criminal defense, family defense, immigration representation, civil legal services, and social work advocacy to low-income people of the Bronx.

Brooklyn Defender Services provides comprehensive criminal, family, and immigration defense representation and related services to people who cannot afford to retain an attorney in Brooklyn.

Manual Miranda Practice (MPP) uses graphic design to make places and content visible, legible, and navigable to people.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by an award from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and New York State Council on the Arts. More Art For More People.

Special Thanks

Christine Gaspar, Ingrid Haftel, Nick Johnson, Gwyneth Hesser, Elizabeth Tuttle, and all the incarcerated parents whose feedback made this project possible.


  • CUP
  • Mark Torrey

  • The Bronx Defenders
    Fallon Speaker

  • Brooklyn Defender Services
  • Jessica Nitsche
  • Kelsey De Avila