Children with a carer in the criminal justice system

Children with a carer in the criminal justice system

Children with a carer in the criminal justice system

Introduction

The imprisonment of a caregiver can be very damaging to children, affecting every aspect of their life and leading to profound grief, trauma and shame. Despite this, children are rarely considered within criminal justice processes, and most receive no support at all, with little opportunity to be involved in the decision-making about their own care and support needs.

2021 Award

Sarah Beresford (CF 2012) is a consultant and Prison Reform Trust Associate working with a range of family support services. Within the Merseyside Women’s Services Alliance, she has co-created a draft Child Impact Assessment (CIA) which aims to ensure children with a primary carer in the criminal justice system are listened to and supported at every stage of the process. CIAs have long been called for, in policy reports and reviews, but not yet implemented.

Sarah has been awarded one of our Activate grants to test and evaluate this CIA on 30 children with a primary carer in the criminal justice system. She will use the funding to facilitate focus groups with carers, children and professionals to ensure the CIA is child-friendly and appropriate; complete explanatory notes clarifying how the CIA will be used; roll out a pilot of the CIA with charities and organisations that support families affected by imprisonment; arrange training for staff engaged with children in the pilot; and facilitate roundtable discussions with policy-influencing organisations and academics to ensure the CIA is underpinned by robust research. Following this, she will evaluate the feedback and draw together the findings in a report with recommendations for policymakers. Through this, she hopes to create a tried and tested CIA that can be embedded into existing processes and ensure children’s voices are heard.

Sarah’s Fellowship to Australia and the USA investigated the role of schools in supporting families affected by imprisonment.

2021 Award

Sarah Beresford (CF 2012) is a consultant and Prison Reform Trust Associate working with a range of family support services. Within the Merseyside Women’s Services Alliance, she has co-created a draft Child Impact Assessment (CIA) which aims to ensure children with a primary carer in the criminal justice system are listened to and supported at every stage of the process. CIAs have long been called for, in policy reports and reviews, but not yet implemented.

Sarah has been awarded one of our Activate grants to test and evaluate this CIA on 30 children with a primary carer in the criminal justice system. She will use the funding to facilitate focus groups with carers, children and professionals to ensure the CIA is child-friendly and appropriate; complete explanatory notes clarifying how the CIA will be used; roll out a pilot of the CIA with charities and organisations that support families affected by imprisonment; arrange training for staff engaged with children in the pilot; and facilitate roundtable discussions with policy-influencing organisations and academics to ensure the CIA is underpinned by robust research. Following this, she will evaluate the feedback and draw together the findings in a report with recommendations for policymakers. Through this, she hopes to create a tried and tested CIA that can be embedded into existing processes and ensure children’s voices are heard.

Sarah’s Fellowship to Australia and the USA investigated the role of schools in supporting families affected by imprisonment.