Children of prisoners - maintaining family ties

Glossary of terms and websites

Action for Prisoners’ Families

Action for Prisoners’ Families is a campaigning organisation working to raise the profile of children and families of prisoners. They have also published numerous resources for children and families and for those supporting them (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Action for Prisoners’ Families

Advisory group

Advisory group is the group of experts in the field who have helped and advised on the development of this project

Area Child Protection Committees

Area Child Protection Committees have now been replaced by Local children's safeguarding boards.

Assisted Prison Visits Scheme

Assisted Prison Visits Scheme is part of the National Offender Management Service. It contributes to the cost of prison visits for families who are receiving state benefits and are on a low income.

Link: National Offender Management Servicre

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (formerly part of Association for Directors of Social Services before the split between children and adult services) is the body that represents all the directors of adult social services in England. It brings together the accumulated wisdom and understanding of the way services for adults are managed and financed as well as inputs from a widening responsibility for housing, leisure, library, culture and, in some case, arts and sports facilities.

Link: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

Association of Directors of Children’s Services

Association of Directors of Children’s Services (formerly part of Association for Directors of Social Services) is the national leadership association in England for statutory directors of children's services and other children's services professionals in leadership roles.

Link: Association of Directors of Children’s Services

Association of Chief Police Officers

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) is an independent, professionally-led strategic body. In the public interest and, in equal and active partnership with Government and the Association of Police Authorities, ACPO leads and coordinates the direction and development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Link: Association of Chief Police Officers

Barnardo’s Northern Ireland

Barnardo’s Northern Ireland provides practical advice, support and materials for the children and families of prisoners and those who are working with them (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Barnardo’s Northern Ireland

Behavioural support workers

Behavioural support workers work in schools, with individual pupils, groups, staff and other agencies in sustaining the inclusion of vulnerable children at risk of exclusion and disaffection.

Children Act 2004

The Children Act 2004 legislates the proposals set out in Every Child Matters, creating clear accountability for children's services, to enable better joint working and to secure a better focus on safeguarding children. The Act provides for the establishment of a Children's Commissioner and supports better integrated planning, commissioning, and delivery of children's services. The Act places a duty on local authorities to make arrangements through which key agencies co-operate to improve the well-being of children and young people and widen services' powers to pool budgets in support of this.

Link: Children Act 2004

Children and families pathway

Children and families pathway is pathway six of the National Re-offending Delivery Plan. It acknowledges the importance of maintaining family ties to help prevent re-offending, and aims to develop a strategic response to:

  1. Encourage the inclusion of life skills, including parenting and relationship skills, within mainstream support for offenders
  2. Develop better material and advice and guidance for children and families
  3. Ensure that the interests of children and families are considered with the implementation of Every Child Matters.

Link: National Re-offending Delivery Plan: Children and families pathway

Children’s centres

Sure Start children’s centres are places where children under five and their families can receive integrated services and information, and access help from multi-disciplinary teams of professionals. The centres are at the heart of the Government’s strategy to deliver better outcomes for children and families, building on the success of Sure Start local programmes. Guidance exists for children’s centres and Chapter 19 specifically addresses the needs of the children of prisoners.

Link: Sure Start: children’s centres

Children’s trusts

Children’s trusts bring together all services for children and young people in an area, underpinned by the Children Act 2004 duty to cooperate, to focus on improving outcomes for all children and young people. They will support those who work every day with children, young people and their families to deliver better outcomes.

Link: Every Child Matters: Children’s trusts

Common assessment framework (CAF)

The common assessment framework is a key part of delivering frontline services that are integrated and focused around the needs of children and young people. The CAF is a standardised approach to conducting an assessment of a child's additional needs and deciding how those needs should be met. It will promote more effective, earlier identification of additional needs, particularly in universal services. and is intended to provide a simple process for a holistic assessment of a child's needs and strengths. Practitioners will then be better placed to agree, with the child and family, about what support is appropriate. The CAF will also help to improve integrated working by promoting coordinated service provision.

Link: Every Child Matters: CAF

Department for Children, Schools and Families

The Department for Children, Schools and Families is led by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and leads work across Government to improve the five Every Child Matters outcomes for children, including work on children’s health and child poverty.

Link: Department for Children, Families and Schools

Department of Health

The Department of Health is led by the Secretary of State for Health and provides guidance, policy and publications for the delivery of health and social care for adults.

Link: Department of Health

European Committee for Children of Imprisoned Parents

The European Committee for Children of Imprisoned Parents (EUROCHIPS) is a European-wide initiative on behalf of children with an imprisoned parent. It aims to raise awareness and achieve new ways of thinking, acting and interacting on issues concerning prisoners' children. (see Useful contacts and practical resources)

Link: European Committee for Children of Imprisoned Parents

Families Outside

Families Outside is a Scottish charity that helps hundreds of families each year through research, training and the Scottish Prisoner's Family Helpline (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Families Outside

Family Contact and Development Officer

Family Contact and Development Officer (FCDO) is the title of the prison officers who have responsibility for working with prisoners and their families in all prisons in Scotland.

Family Links

Family Links is run by NIACRO. Family Links, through a partnership with probation services, are sent details of all prisoners’ family contacts on committal. The organisation then contacts them within 48 hours to offer practical and emotional support. Family Links will offer ongoing support to families and children who require a service through home visits, benefits advice, transport, groups and referrals to other agencies.

Link: Family Links

Family link workers

Family link workers are employed by Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group (POPS), and based within prison establishments across the North of England. Their role is to be a guide through the 'maze' of the criminal justice system and act as a broker between families and offenders, to ensure that families are able to support the offender effectively.

Link: Partners of Prisoners: Family link workers

Focus groups

Focus groups were convened to bring together a range of staff and disciplines to offer views and experiences of working with children of prisoners. The groups informed this project and its conclusions and recommendations.

Human Rights Act 1998

The Human Rights Act 1998 contains a section on the rights of children and young people, which provides for children’s views to be heard and to be given due weight by courts and other bodies responsible for decisions on matters such as residence and contact between children and non-resident parents.

Link: Human Rights Act 1998

Kids VIP

Kids VIP provide training across the prison estate to prison staff about making prison visits as child-friendly as possible. They have also produced useful and practical training materials (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Literature review

Literature review is the term SCIE gives to the process of reviewing the research and information that is already published in the field.

Local safeguarding children’s boards (LSCBs)

Local safeguarding children’s boards are designed to ensure children are safeguarded properly by enabling effective inter-agency working. They replace the former area child protection committees (ACPCs). The core membership is set out in the Children Act 2004, and includes local authorities, health bodies, the police and others. The objective is to coordinate and to ensure the effectiveness of their member agencies in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.

Link: Every Child Matters: Local safeguarding children’s boards

Looked After Children (LAC)

Looked After Children (LAC) are looked after by local authorities and are in care because of abuse or neglect. A minority enter care because of problems with their behaviour. Most looked-after children are placed with foster families. Others live in children's homes, and some with their parents.

Multi agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA)

Multi agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) enables the responsible authorities (police, prisons, and probation) to identify and manage offenders in the community through the sharing of information and expertise. This takes place at the multi agency public protection panels (MAPPP).

Ministry of Justice

The Ministry of Justice is led by the Secretary of State for Justice, and is the government department responsible for both the prison and probation services, courts, criminal law and sentencing.

Link: Ministry of Justice

National Offender Management Service

National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is responsible for the management of offenders in the community and prison. NOMS is the system through which correctional services and interventions are commissioned in order to protect the public and reduce re-offending.

Link: National Offender Management Service

National Prisoners' Families Helpline

National Prisoners' Families Helpline is run by Action for Prisoners’ Families, Ormiston and Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group. This is a national service providing support and information to families affected by imprisonment. It is also available to those working with anyone whose life is affected by this issue.

Link: National Prisoners Families Helpline

National Reducing Re-offending Delivery Plan

National Reducing Re-offending Delivery Plan sets out the Government’s plans to reduce re-offending. It is based on the factors identified in the Social Exclusion Unit’s report ’Reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners‘. It identifies several pathways as part of the delivery, including children and families.

Link: National Re-offending Delivery Plan

North Eastern Prison After Care Society

North Eastern Prison After Care Society (NEPACS) is a voluntary, independent, community-based charity in the North East that supports offenders, ex-offenders and their families (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: North Eastern Prison After Care Society

Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NIACRO) Through Family Links, transport and visitor centres offer practical and emotional support to all children and families who are affected by imprisonment across Northern Ireland. The Family Links service ensures that all families are offered independent advice and support within 48 hours of a person entering prison. In a partnership with probation services each prisoner is asked to identify family members and children affected by their imprisonment on committal and the details, if permission is given, are faxed to Family Links who contact them by telephone on the same day as well as sending an information pack specific to each prison. All families are offered immediate practical information over the telephone and ongoing support if requested (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders

Ofsted

Ofsted is the body responsible for inspection and regulation in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages.

Link: Ofsted

Ormiston

Ormiston (also known as Ormiston Children and Families Trust) works to promote the well-being of children and young people. They offer support to the children of prisoners through promoting a greater awareness and a more effective response to their needs. Ormiston are part of the National Prisoners' Families Helpline, and provide community support for children and young people (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Ormiston

Parenting programmes

Parenting programmes are run both in prisons and the community. They are designed to teach parents about their roles and responsibilities, and child development.

Practice site

Practice site is the term SCIE uses to describe an area in which a focus group was held.

Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group

Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group (POPS) provide a variety of services to support anyone who has a link with someone in prison, prisoners and other agencies (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group

Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT)

The Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) is an independent charity that supports people affected by imprisonment. PACT work with children and families of prisoners, and with prisoners inside and on release. They provide family support workers and volunteers at several visitors’ centres. Situated outside the prison gates, they can offer information and support to family members. (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Prison Advice and Care Trust

Prisoners’ Families and Friends

Prisoners’ Families and Friends is an independent voluntary agency providing advice and support to prisoners’ families (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Prisoners’ Families and Friends

Revolving Doors Agency

Revolving Doors Agency works to improve the lives of people who are caught up in a damaging cycle of crisis, crime and mental illness. They undertake service development, and undertake research and national public policy work.

Link: Revolving Doors Agency

Safer Communities Initiative

The Safer Communities Initiative is conceived as a framework for providing crime and disorder reduction partnerships with funding to supplement mainstream activity, to deliver a complementary activity plan of situational and social crime reduction interventions.

Link: Home Office: Safer Communities Initiative

Social Exclusion Task Force

The Social Exclusion Task Force is based in the Cabinet Office and aims to coordinate the Government's drive against social exclusion, ensuring that the cross-departmental approach delivers for those most in need. It recently produced ‘Reaching out: think family’ as part of its Families at Risk review, in which it highlights children of offenders as a vulnerable group. The most recent publication is ‘Think family: improving the life chances of families at risk’.

Link: Cabinet Office: Social Exclusion Taskforce

Storybook Dads

Storybook Dads is a charity that uses digital technology to enable mothers and fathers to record stories for their children to listen to at home (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Storybook Dads

String of Pearls

String of Pearls is a small organisation in the South West providing multi-agency training to professionals working with children and families of prisoners (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Prison Advice & Care Trust: String of Pearls

Sure Start

Sure Start is the Government’s programme to deliver the best start in life for every child by bringing together early education, childcare, health and family support. It covers a wide range of programmes both universal and those targeted on particular local areas or disadvantaged groups within England.

Link: Sure Start

Thames Valley Partnership

Thames Valley Partnership brings people and organisations together to create safer and stronger communities and find sustainable solutions to the problems of crime and social exclusion. It works with criminal justice partners, local authorities, voluntary and community organisations and the private sector, and has developed the ‘Family Matters’ programme to promote awareness and support multi-agency responses to the children of prisoners across the Thames Valley (see Useful contacts and practical resources).

Link: Thames Valley Partnership

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first legally binding international instrument to incorporate the full range of human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social. In 1989, world leaders decided that children needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not.

Link: United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Visitor centres

Visitor centres can be found at many prisons across the estate. They are generally just outside the prison. Some are run by the Prison Service, others by independent charities. At some, the centre may be little more than a room with a drink and snack vending machine and lockers for leaving items during the visit. Others are staffed by volunteers and/or paid workers, and offer families a range of services. Visitor centres aim to provide a welcoming environment where visitors are treated with dignity and respect, and can obtain information, support and advice.

West Midlands ‘Families Do Matter’

West Midlands ‘Families Do Matter’ pathway project is sponsored by NOMS and is working to provide evidence of the longer-term impact and benefit of supporting offenders’ to maintain and strengthen their relationships with their children and families.

Link: West Midlands ‘Families Do Matter’