Children of Prisoners
What is it?
- 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.
CCYP will meet with key stakeholders, including incarcerated parents, to understand form their perspective, what needs to change to improve the response and support to their children. CCYP will then meet with groups of children and young people to understand what impact having an incarcerated parent has on a child’s life, and what they believe needs to be done to help improve their circumstances and future outcomes.
As a result of focus groups with parents and their children, the Join the Dots report summarises what I have heard from consultations. This includes interactions with systems and recommendations to ensure that children and young people experiencing an incarcerated parent or carer are visible and their wellbeing is taken into consideration.