Children of Prisoner's Project
Commissioner’s Community Engagement – Children of Prisoners
What is it?
The concerns relating to children of prisoners have been raised with the Commissioner for Children and Young People since her appointment in 2017. Advocates for Prisoners / Offenders and their families have highlighted the following:
- There is no formal data collection regarding numbers of children affected by parent incarceration
- There is no department responsible or funding provided for ongoing support for children and families of prisoners
- The impact of having a parent / primary carer incarcerated can be significant and complex
There is an understanding that there are a number of other factors impacting on the lives of these children, this includes that many already live in high risk environments and in families experiencing multiple stress factors.
What we don’t know is how many children and young people are affected by their parents or a primary carer being incarcerated. Information provided by Advocates suggests there could be as many as 4,000 children in South Australia that have an incarcerated parent.
In South Australia the agencies that are supporting prisoners and offenders are not necessarily funded to work directly with the children. The supports are limited and reports indicate there are no policies, practice guides or service delivery models that have been developed with this particular group of children in mind.
The CCYP initial contact with children of prisoner’s and their families will be at a school holiday activity, Family Fun Day. This activity will provide an opportunity for children and families who have a shared experience to come together in a safe way to engage with the Commissioner and each other, be supported by OARS and as a collective raise awareness about the systems, processes and decisions that impact on their lives.
Following the holiday activity the CCYP to meet with a group of young people with lived experience of parental incarceration, to develop an understanding from their perspective of how this affects children’s lives and what they need to improve their circumstances. A consultation session hosted by OARS for CCYP to meet with a group of young people, who may have attended the event in October.