Although this blog is mostly about educatio, it does from time to time mention other issues. For the past five years I have been a trustee of the charity Children Heard and Seen, founded in Oxford by an inspirational former social worker, Sarah Burrows. http://childrenheardandseen.co.uk/ This charity works to mitigate the effects of parental imprisonment on children, young people and their families, aiming to provide quality services for children with a family member in prison.
For far too long these children have been ignored. Next month, a new book will be published by the Waterside Press https://www.watersidepress.co.uk/acatalog/Seen-Heard-Poems-Prisons-9781909976429.html#SID=34
The book is a collection of poems and drawings by parents and children affected by imprisonment in the UK and abroad. The poems and images are all original and from open competitions begun in 2018. They address the thoughts, feelings and beliefs of the authors as they express themselves concerning their emotions and experiences. Over a million children and family members are affected by imprisonment in the UK alone and the poems seek to emphasise the sense of loss, deprivation and isolation involved. They also show resilience—and how enforced separation impacts each and every day of the writer’s life.
The joint editors of the collection are, Lucy Baldwin is Senior Lecturer in Criminology at De Montfort University Leicester. She specialises in research surrounding mothering in and after prison and families affected by imprisonment. Ben Raikes is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Huddersfield University. He also works at the Centre for Applied Childhood, Youth and Family Research. Ben has experience as a social worker and probation officer. He runs writing groups in prisons and is a co-founder of the International Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents (INCCIP).
The book will cost just £14.95 and comes with free delivery in the United Kingdom.
Latest research suggests that there may be more than 300,000 children of prisoners across the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, Children Heard and Seen was mentioned in evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights at Westminster. The mention is at: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/human-rights-committee/the-right-to-family-life-children-whose-mothers-are-in-prison/oral/96667.html as part of Q3.
Sarah from Children Heard and Seen used to be a social worker, and I will ring her up and panic, when I have nothing to panic over. I honestly believe it has stemmed from that.
Back then, if I had had a charity like Children Heard and Seen, I would not be suffering as I am now. I can give you an example. Unfortunately, my children have recently gone through a similar situation with the father receiving a custodial. Because of Children Heard and Seen, my children were not alienated. They did not know the difference. They did not know that he had gone. They were with a bunch of other children and it felt normal—not that it was normal for a parent to go to prison, but it was normal to feel human and be accepted as a human. It was not so taboo. You are not living their punishment, really. I honestly believe that I and my brother served a bigger sentence than my mum ever received.
I believe these children need support that Society has not offered them. Should you wish to help with the work of the charity, please visit its web site and donate either cash or your time.