In England and Wales an estimated 200,000 children are affected by parental imprisonment, with 1 in every 7 children having to deal with the experience of having a parent in prison during their school years. This, of course, means that these children who are already facing difficulties at home, are more likely to experience and face difficulties in school, potentially interfering with their development.
Now, a new scheme has been launched to specifically help the children and families faced with these difficulties – the Community Support for Offenders Families, or CSOF for short, is a new pilot project being jointly funded by Barnardo’s and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) scheme will work with families living in Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil, Gwent and South Powys with a base in Caerphilly. There are also schemes for England, based in the Isle of White and Bristol.
The team consists of Laura Tranter (Manager), Lindsey Pudge (Offender Manager) and Emma Reed (Project Worker).
The project aims to:
- Work with local agencies to raise awareness of the needs of families and children affected by the imprisonment or offending of a family member.
- Provide support to families with children aged 0 to 18 years who have a parent/carer in prison or engaged in the criminal justice system.
- Demonstrate how improved multi agency partnership working and effective offender management practice can contribute towards reducing offending and improving the life chances of offender’s children.
The team are very keen to meet with agencies and/or schools to offer support for families affected and they also offer free ‘Hidden Sentence’ training to raise awareness of the needs of families and children affected by the imprisonment or offending of a family member. Courses/training is very flexible in order to meet the needs of the target audience and last approximately 1 Â½ hours to a full day.
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