Barnardo’s - https://www.barnardos.org.uk/
- First established in 1867 as a “ragged school for boys” by Thomas Barnardo, Barnardo’s now helps children stay with their families across the whole country. Barnardo’s helps all children who are at risk by working with their families, fostering and adoption agencies, and other organisations to ensure the children are safe and well. Part of this work includes working within prisons to assist children who have a parent who has been incarcerated to help build connections and ensure the child feels bonded with their parent. Barnardo’s also provides the National Information Centre on Children of Offenders (NICCO) in partnership with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS). The centre helps children gain some better understanding of their situation and get some advice from professionals. Through NICCO training is also provided for professionals in the form of Hidden Sentences. This training gets professionals (such as social workers, teachers and doctors) to learn how to speak to and handle children in their care who may have a parent in prison.
Children Heard and Seen - https://childrenheardandseen.co.uk/
- Charity dedicated exclusively to children with a parent in prison. They work on raising awareness of the issue, reducing intergenerational offending and minimising the impact having a parent in prison has on a child. They provide services such as mentoring children, parenting support, and activity groups for children. CHS is primarily based in Oxford, however with the increase in online services available they can now cover the whole of England and Wales.
Cass+ - http://www.cassplus.org/
- This is a charity that works within courts in Devon and Cornwall to provide advice to both offenders and victims. Many offenders come from lower economic backgrounds where they may not be told about the way the courts work and certain benefits they can claim as first time offenders, which can result in them being mistreated and missing out on valuable resources. Cass+ raises awareness of this.
CoLab - https://www.colabexeter.org.uk/
- Works with many people who have ended up down on their luck, for example homeless people, mentally ill people, and people who need rehabilitation during and after prison. This rehabilitation may involve working with families as well.
Home Start - https://www.home-start.org.uk/
- Home Start works with families across England and Wales to help them in times of trouble, including having a parent or other family member in prison. This charity works within the family home to help make it a safe and secure place for the children to grow up in. They do this by helping parents access much needed services, providing “compassionate and confidential” support to the parents to give them greater confidence in their parenting skills, and helping children build confidence in themselves for big events such as their first day of school.
Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) - https://www.prisonadvice.org.uk/
- PACT works nationally to help support families who have experienced a member being incarcerated, attempting to minimise the damage to the family unit that prison can cause. They provide resources that are child appropriate and help children understand what is happening to their family, and they have also been heavily involved in developing family friendly visitors’ centres, such as Wormwood Scrubs. They also run a helpline for families of prisoners that provides comfort and advice to those who are struggling.
Action for Children - https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk/
- Established in 1869, Action for Children works nationally with vulnerable young people to give them the life they need. For many years they provided a home for children sleeping rough, however there is less emphasis on this now. Action for Children works closely with the Methodist Church for fundraising and support. This charity runs support centres and nurseries, help with fostering and adoption, and campaign within government for better support for at risk children. They also provide mental health support for children who are experiencing trouble at home, including the issue of having a parent in prison.
Choices Consultancy Service - https://choiceshelpsfamilies.org.uk/
- Choices works within the prisons in Devon (HMP Channings Wood, Dartmoor and Exeter) to provide family friendly visiting services so families can visit their loved ones in an enriching, interesting environment that facilitates play and fun for any children involved. They also help facilitate first nights for offenders, and provide other resources that help benefit the families.
Storybook Dads - https://www.storybookdads.org.uk/
- Storybook Dads works with prisoners who have children to provide recordings, both audio and video, of themselves reading a book that their children can then watch or listen to when they need to. Other prisoners at their headquarters in Channings Wood Devon are trained and employed as editors in order to correct any audio or visual mistakes and background noises, and apply music in order to provide a softer effect. This charity not only helps provide comfort for children at a time that is incredibly instable and scary, but also encourages an interest in reading in both the children and the inmates (illiteracy rates run extraordinarily high within prisons), and for those trained to edit it provides a valuable skill for when they are released from prison.