An estimated 200,000 children every year have a parent in prison in England and Wales and 10,000 visits are made by children to our public prisons every week.

Children, young people and their families experience emotional distress even with the temporary loss of a loved one from the family home and/or family life: for example, families miss out on sharing family events such as birthdays and Christmas, or even simple family activities such as meals, with the imprisoned family member.

Children and young people are often stigmatised due to the family member’s offence and imprisonment.  This can lead to bullying and impact on mental health and wellbeing.     Visiting can be difficult for children, with poor facilities that are not ‘child friendly’ and confusing rules restricting how they can interact with their imprisoned family member; families often have to travel long distances to a prison, and are often reliant on public transport; visiting times may not be compatible with tea time and bed time routines, leaving children irritable or tired, which then may impact on school performance the following day.  For more information on visiting, see 2014 Barnardo’s Report on Visiting.

There are a number of support organisations, guidance, documents and resources available to families, children and young people, and professionals working with children, young people and families.

For Professionals: – an online knowledge hub of services, resources and training

For Parents & Carers:

Grandparents Plus – Families of Prisoners

Offenders’ Families Helpline     Helpline: 0808 808 2003

Action for Prisoners Families – advice and resources

For Children & Young People:

Action for Prisoners Families advice and resources

Prisoners Families & Friends Service