our news

Covid-19 response

As with many charities and organisations we have been faced with huge challenges by Covid-19, mainly how we can continue to support our vulnerable and already isolated families whilst maintaining social distancing. On 24th March 2020 prison visits in the UK were suspended, meaning that many of the children we support were unable to have contact with their parent in prison, raising significant anxiety and upset.  At the start of the lockdown we decided to take our services online, offering support groups for parents worried about their children’s parent in prison and weekly activity groups for children to keep them occupied and engaged with our support. We adapted our 1:1 support for children who were worried about their parent in prison so these sessions could be held online. We also decided to widen our support to families across the UK, as many of the other support services had not remained open. The first week of lock down we had 13 parents attend our online groups which is the average number we would get at one of our regular face to face support meetings.  We quickly realised that many of our families did not have a way to access our online groups, so we set up an appeal for second-hand laptops which we have been data wiping and delivering to families. So far, we have been donated over 80 laptops from members of the public and have delivered 27 laptops to families across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Kent, Essex and Avon. We also set up a Virgin Giving appeal to help us to send our art and craft materials, cooking ingredients and to pay for data for families to access the groups. This has resulted... read more

Impact Report

Click here to read our latest Impact Report We are always delighted to hear from people who would like to support our work or young people who need our support. Please get in touch if you can help by volunteering, fundraising or donating to help us continue our vital... read more

Seven Calls To Action

On Friday 14th June 2019, Children Heard and Seen and MyTime jointly hosted the first children’s voice conference for children with a parent in prison, ‘Our Time To Be Heard‘. The conference was held in the iconic Churchill Rooms at Westminster, and was attended by MPs, policy makers, Peers, academics and journalists. It was entirely devised by the children, who wrote and presented their own speeches, read out poetry they had written. The children got the chance to interview HMP Staffordshire’s governor Ralph Lubkowski, with insightful questions such as “Why aren’t there more family visits?”. Also the opportunity to interview two journalists from the BBC with grilling questions such as “Why does a person’s face, address, second name need to be in the papers? Why does it have to backfire on the children and everyone who knows the person?”. The conference was a great success and brought together children from around the UK who have a parent in prison, supported by ourselves, MyTime (Liverpool), Nepacs (Durham) and Families Outside (Scotland). At the end of the conference, the children announced seven calls to action. They identified that they need to be supported, they need to be heard, seen, and have their voices reflected in policy. There is currently no policy in place which supports children with a parent. This conference allowed the children to discuss what should be enforced in national policy to increase their mental health, wellbeing and generally benefit their lives and the lives of other children with a parent in prison. These are seven calls to action decided by children. They are ready for change. They want... read more

Our Time To Be Heard

On Friday 14th June a group of children and young people travelled to Westminster to tell MPs, Peers (members of the House of Lords), policy officials, journalists, prison governors and a handful of academics, what it has been like for them to experience parental imprisonment, and what they think should be done to change that experience for other children.  Our Time to be Heard Conference 14th June 2019 The children are all connected to community organisations that support children with a family member in prison. There are very few of these organisations across the UK and most were represented. Children Heard and Seen, My Time, Vox Liminis Kin project, Nepacs and Families Outside had gathered children from England and Scotland. The conference was conceived of and organised by Dr Lorna Brookes (My Time Project / Liverpool John Moores University) and Sarah Burrows (Children Heard and Seen). It was a child-led conference so the registration, key notes, questions, ideas, planning of the conference all came from children and young people. The role of the adults was to listen to the children and young people, and answer their questions about why the system is as it is. Read the full Article... read more

Sarah Burrows ensures prisoners’ kids are heard and seen

“The children of prisoners seem invisible in this whole equation,” says Sarah Burrows, founder of Children Heard and Seen. The charity supports children and families with parents or partners serving time, fighting the stigma and shame they face in their communities. Children whose parents have been convicted are three times more likely to commit a crime themselves, while 65 per cent of boys whose fathers are incarcerated will end up in prison themselves one day.  Sarah Burrows Burrows has worked with vulnerable children in Oxfordshire since the beginning of her career, when she left school and picked up a job in a local children’s home. She moved between studying social work and continuing in residential care until she joined a scheme that protects children at risk of offending.  While working to reduce the number of young people entering the criminal justice system, the 54-year-old was gripped by a need to know why they were becoming enmeshed in the first place. It didn’t take long for her to pin down a recurring theme – an overwhelming majority of them had a parent already in prison. Burrows assumed there would be tailored support available for a vulnerable group like the children of prisoners in her area; she was convinced that this was the key to reducing childhood offences. But, she says, there was nothing. So she took matters into her own hands.  Read the full Article... read more