Children of prisoners - maintaining family ties
Appendix 2: Practice survey
The following questions formed the basis for the discussions and contributions from each of our eight practice sites.
- Whose strategic remit does this work come under, for example is it under the remit of the prison service, community criminal justice or social care services, or is there an equivalent to the safeguarding boards?
- Who takes the lead?
- Was research carried out to determine the level of service required? If so, what and when?
- Who completed this research?
- What monitoring and evaluation of services is done and how is this fed into future strategic work?
- What particular aspects of this strategy are effective?
- Where does funding come from, and what specific services does it provide?
- How is funding allocated? Is it budgeted for annually?
- Do you have match funding? If so, from what source?
Policies and procedures
- What policies and procedures are in place for the children and families of prisoners?
- Who has responsibility for monitoring their implementation?
- Which organisations have signed up to these polices, and how is their involvement monitored?
- Are you aware of the numbers of children and how is that data collected and monitored?
- How many of the children affected by having a parent in prison are looked after?
- Do you keep records of their gender, age, ethnicity etc?
- What are the ranges of partnerships that exist to make the policies successful?
- How do they operate and how are they sustained?
- Are they covered by service level agreements?
- How are these partnerships communicated to front-line staff for implementation?
- What internal training do you provide on working with children of prisoners?
- What training is provided across service boundaries?
- Is multi-agency training available on policies and procedures, and specific roles and responsibilities?
- Do you have any other systems in place for staff to learn about other services?
- Is training mandatory?
- Is training accredited?
- Are the care pathways explicit and understood by all relevant staff? For example, how a child might be identified once a parent has been arrested or imprisoned?
- How can services be accessed by children and families?
- Is it clear who has responsibility at each
stage of the process?
- What examples do you have of practice or intervention at each stage that could contribute to our guide?
- What information is there for families?
- How is information shared amongst agencies?
- What makes it effective? What are the levers?
- Are there specific resources for different age groups?
Links with prisons
- What links do you have with local prisons (if applicable)?
- Are you aware of any work the prison is doing to help maintain family ties where appropriate?
- Do you know if the prison involves the family in the work they are doing?
- Will you work with the prison to help the family plan for release?
- How is liaison between prisons and community undertaken, for example, is there a ‘lead professional’ or link person who is able or make the links or ensure communication?
- Is there a specific agreement or procedure for children to visit a parent in prison? How is this managed if a child is in foster care?
- How many families/children receive a service annually?
- How do you know these systems are successful? Has an evaluation been undertaken?
- What examples can you provide to demonstrate how the intervention of services was successful?
- Are service users asked to comment on accessibility and appropriateness of the service they receive?
- What do children and families say about the service they receive?
- Does provision meet the outcomes for children in Every Child Matters?
Challenges and obstacles
- What have been the main challenges to setting up the schemes?
- What are obstacles (if any) that continue to present themselves and how have they been overcome?
Lessons for practice
- What messages would you give to others thinking about setting up a specific local service for children of prisoners?
- What, if anything, might you do differently?
- What recommendations and suggestions would you have for our guide?
- What would be useful for staff?
- What format should it take?