Children of prisoners - maintaining family ties
Findings - training
- For social workers and foster carers, the consensus appears to be that there is very little formal training on working with the criminal justice system, and particularly prisons. Rather they learn and develop skills by experience on the job. Common assessment framework training does provide an opportunity to highlight the needs of children of prisoners and encourage a range of staff to initiate an assessment, although they are not a distinct priority group.
- There is a lack of awareness among staff working in social care, education, and health. Guidelines, training tools and practical materials, particularly for multi-agency working, have all been identified as requirements to fill the gaps in knowledge and ensure a better response to the issues, alongside the full implementation of the children and families pathway in the Reducing Re-offending plan.
- Social workers should undertake a training module as part of their continued professional development to raise awareness of children of prisoners. Training should be part of social work degrees, and POPS already have some input at the University of Salford.
- Tools and materials are available but not widely used or known about. Several of the voluntary sector organisations have produced excellent materials for training staff and working with children and families.
- Specific tools are available for schools (Ormiston and Thames Valley), prisons (Kids VIP), foster carers (Ormiston), multi-agency training (String of Pearls, Thames Valley Partnership) and more general training tools for working with children (Ormiston, Action for Prisoners’ Families, Barnardo’s and NIACRO in Northern Ireland).