Taking our children to Krakow COPE conference

Taking our children to Krakow COPE conference

By Maria Semmonds, Family Project Delivery Lead   Brilliant young people from England, Poland, Norway and Sweden! Each year it’s estimated that 312,000 children are impacted by the imprisonment of a parent.  As the prison population continues to rise, so does the number of children who experience a parent in prison. In the last 4 years we at Children Heard and Seen have worked with almost 400 children, young people and their families to support their needs, listen to their concerns, and have their views heard and reflected in national and local policy.  To us at Children Heard and Seen, It’s part of our ethos, that the children and families we work with have their voices heard, and therefore where possible we ensure they attend conferences with us, and their voices are part of the conversation on their needs.  Every year we go to the Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) conference, and this year we were able to take some of the inspirational, brilliant young people we work with along with us. The 5 children who attended had their own part in the conference, and it meant that they were able to share their first hand experiences with the other delegates, influencing practitioners and policy internationally about what needs to change to meet their needs. This was a phenomenal experience and Children Heard and Seen were honoured to support the young people to disclose their feelings on the European stage.  They were able to explain that even though they did not commit a crime, they still feel as if they are being punished. They discussed a whole range of...