A free information service to help the children and families of prisoners in England and Wales has been launched by children’s charity, Barnardo’s.
i-HOP (Information Hub on Offenders' families with children for Professionals) has been designed to help all professionals to identify and support the children and families of offenders.
These are often a “hidden” group who can fall under the radar of services including their schools and hospitals.
Each year an estimated 200,000 children in England and Wales experience a parent’s imprisonment. They can face poorer outcomes than their peers, including higher risks of mental health problems, poverty and negative school experiences.
The toolkit includes advice on identifying children of prisoners, raising awareness of the difficulties children may face and challenging stigma.
There are also practical tips on helping children to access crucial support services, making sure their voices are heard and understanding the various stages of the criminal justice system, as well as a template which helps services to develop an action plan for their work with these families.
Javed Khan, Barnardo’s Chief Executive, said: "Children of prisoners are the innocent victims of their parent's crimes. The effects of having a Mum or Dad in prison can last a lifetime for a child. We hope that this toolkit can help give professionals the insight they need to support these children. We want to ensure that whatever their background every child has the chance to achieve”.
The toolkit is available at: http://www.i-hop.org.uk/app/answers/detail/a_id/759/~/i-hop-quality-statements-and-toolkit.