Having attended so many conferences about children of prisoners, our founder Lorna, strongly felt it was time to host a conference for children of prisoners where all the speakers were children with lived experience. With fantastic support from Liverpool John Moores University and the charity Children Heard and Seen, 11 young people from Merseyside joined other young people from around the UK (totalling 36 young people) and gave powerful key note speeches and held discussion groups in front of parliamentarians, senior civil servants and MPs.
Lorna’s blog about why she wanted to run this event can be read here: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/about-us/news/blog/2019/6/5/children-of-prisoners
Here s a detailed report on what the young people said on the day. I will attach
The children also developed 7 Calls to Action summarising what they think needs to change to better support them and children like them with a parent in prison.
- There should be a policy where any offenders who have a child under 18 yrs should not have their name or home address printed in the press to protect the children and family from community backlash.
- In all prison visits, children and families should be given at least a 10 minute warning that their visit is coming to an end so that they can say a goodbye that is not in a rush.
- All children with a parent in prison should be entitled to family day visits and these should not be held back to punish an offender.
- More consideration should be given to the needs of children when a parent is arrested.
- Children with a parent in prison should be eligible for pupil premium money at school. We are disadvantaged and should be supported as other disadvantaged children are.
- If children of prisoners were priorities in the same way that looked after children are for school admission it would not only help us with our education but give our families a real reason to disclose we have a parent in prison to gain the support. At the moment a disclosure equates to little or nothing and at worse unwanted judgment.
- More funding should be provided so that all children affected by parental imprisonment can access a specialised support group in their local area to reduce their sense of isolation and increase their coping strategies. We should not be ‘tagged on’ to wider support services – our needs are very specific.
Click here to read the report on ‘What Our Young People Said and Asked For in Westminster’
Here are some of the photos of our young change-makers.