The imprisonment of a parent will have a massive impact on any family. Trying to deal with the loss of that parent is very difficult and helping children to adjust is not
Quite often, the imprisonment – or the events that led up to the imprisonment – can be a cause for divorce or separation. This can bring added complications in terms of children maintaining contact with the incarcerated parent.
Previously divorced or separated parents, who may well have put good caring and financial arrangements in place for their children, will have to find ways of adapting to the new circumstances.
Parents who are separated by imprisonment but who wish to keep their family together will have the added stress that a forced separation can bring.
Dealing with your own feelings and trying to help your children with theirs can be very complicated and draining.
There are a number of organisations who specifically support parents in these situations. We have listed them below. In addition, we think that a booklet produced by SHINE for Kids in Australia has some very helpful and practical advice. You can download it from their website here
Action for Prisoners' Families
APF supports the development of services, promotes good practice, provides information and raises awareness of the impact of imprisonment on children and families here
Partners of Prisoners
Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group (POPS) aims to provide a variety of services to support anyone who has a link with someone in prison, prisoners and other agencies. POPS provides assistance to these groups for the purpose of enabling families to cope with the stress of arrest, imprisonment and release here
Prison Advice & Care Trust
The Prison Advice & Care Trust (pact) is a charity which supports people affected by imprisonment. We provide practical support to prisoners' children and families, and to prisoners themselves here
Each year about 150,000 children suffer the trauma of the imprisonment of a parent. Storybook Dads (and Storybook Mums) is a registered charity that helps to ease the pain of separation by enabling the parent to record a bedtime story onto a CD or DVD which the child can listen to whenever they need to hear their parent's voice here
Prisoners' Families Helpline
The Prisoners' Families Helpline is a free and confidential service for anyone who is affected by the imprisonment of a close family member or friend. We can give out information over the phone and also have a range of information sheets here
SHARP has a small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers who can provide emotional support and friendship, practical help and confidential advice. They have a very useful FAQs page which you can find here