Children Heard and Seen


No two experiences of parental imprisonment are the same, however below are some resources to help children, young people and their families impacted by parental imprisonment cope and mitigate the harms.

Advice & Leaflets

One of the most difficult challenges to face when your child’s parent goes to prison is the task of telling the child. These FAQs are answered by a focus group of children, parents & carers affected by parental imprisonment.

In some cases, carers of children affected by parental imprisonment may wish to change the child’s name. This can be for a variety of reasons, and may seem a daunting procedure to undertake, with many assuming they must seek a court order. This information is designed to help guide carers through the process and outline the necessary steps to take.

A leaflet with advice to help teenagers who have a relative in prison.

Evie, aged 16; Cameron, aged 13; Jada, aged 6; and Zainen, aged 8 share how they felt when they found out their parent was in prison, when their parent was arrested, how they cope without their parent and what it’s like to visit someone in prison. This might give ideas about the things to expect, the natural worries you might have and the ways you can cope and get the support that suits you.

‘My Story’, written by Katie, has been written to help children and young people with a family member in prison understand and explore their feelings.

Many children with a family member in prison will visit them at some point. This booklet aims to help children feel better about visiting, by explaining  what it is like, and where their family member is.

When someone you care about has been accused of a sexual offence, it is an enormous shock. From contact with the police, through to court cases and beyond, each stage brings its own challenges, and you may experience very mixed emotions. This booklet is written to help at this time.

A guide, to be used by adults and young people together, to help children and young people understand what life is like for a loved-one in prison.

Children and young people with a family member in prison have
emphasised the importance of having one or more trusted adults that
they can turn to during a family member’s imprisonment. This booklet is aimed at those trusted adults and highlights the issues that young people face and the steps that can be taken to support them.

This booklet contains information and coping strategies for children with a parent or family member in prison.

Books & Films

Below is some literature and film created for children and young people to help them cope with the effects of having a parent in prison. Some have been written by children and families based on their own lived experience of parental imprisonment.

Luke, alongside his volunteer mentor Jess, decided that he would like to make a film about parental imprisonment. The film is about what is it like to have a parent in prison from Luke’s perspective.

These poems seek to emphasise the sense of loss, deprivation and isolation involved with parental imprisonment. The poems were written by children and their families supported by Children Heard and Seen.

The story of James Orchard, an 8-year-old boy who turns detective to find out the truth about his dad, who disappears with the police early one morning. Danny Lee is a supporter and regularly delivers workshops in partnership with Children Heard and Seen.

 The story of Rhymer, a cockroach whose friends have a dad in prison. After initially being judgemental, Rhymer commits a crime and is also sent to jail, where he learns how much his friend’s dad cares about and misses his daughters.

CHAS Letter Templates

Most children find it extremely difficult to write a letter to their parent in prison starting from a blank piece of paper. We have created our own CHAS Letter Templates to try to provide children ideas of what to write, and make the experience as a whole more enjoyable. We have five standard letter templates, in addition to special Christmas, Birthday and Father’s Day templates.


Sources of Support: