our news

OSCB Safeguarding Conference: Understanding My World

In March 2020 our founder Sarah Burrows and some of the young people we support were invited to speak at the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board’s annual safeguarding conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Understanding My World’ and focused on hearing children’s voices to better understand their lived experience. As well as Children Heard And Seen, attendees heard from children and young people from CiCC and VOXY, and Step Out Safer Together Youth Ambassadors, along with speakers from Children’s Social Care, Autism Family Support, Mind of My Own, the Clinical Commissioning Group, Thames Valley Police, Youth Justice Service and keynote speaker Lemn Sissay. Five young people from our Youth Advocates group, Jasmyn, Luke, Kyzir, Zayn and Kayim, met up in the weeks before the conference to plan their presentation and what they wanted to say. Rather than tell their own stories, they decided to read quotes from other children who are supported by Children Heard and Seen. This meant that they could make sure that the voice of the child was heard and minimised the chance of them getting upset by having to tell their own stories. “When the story was printed in the newspaper, our family had to move because we were getting harassed so badly. It got to the point where our Mum was physically attacked all because our address was all over the media. People didn’t care that there were three innocent children in our house.”The impact of media reporting on a parent’s offences in a local newspaper. Sarah spoke about the impact of parental imprisonment on children and young people, and how the lack of a national database means that these children and families... read more

BBC Woman’s Hour interview with Sarah Burrows

Earlier in the year our founder Sarah Burrows was invited to be interviewed by Laura Thomas for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, for a series they were running which celebrates the women in our communities who get things done. The interview was broadcast on 30th June 2020 and is available to listen to via the BBC Sounds app. In the interview Sarah talks about why she decided to set up Children Heard And Seen, the hurdles she overcame and why is it so important that we as a society support children impacted by parental imprisonment. The link for the episode of Woman’s Hour is below and the interview runs from 33:25-41:00.... read more

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