Children Heard and Seen

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Supporting children and young people impacted by parental imprisonment.

Children Heard and Seen support children, young people and their families who are impacted by parental imprisonment. It is estimated that 312,000 children each year have a parent in prison, although there is no database of who these children are and whether they are receiving support. As the prison population continues to rise, so does the number of children impacted. Children Heard and Seen over the past eight years have worked alongside over 435 families and over 1100 children and young people. We strive to support their needs, listen to their concerns, and have their views heard and reflected in policy.

About us

Children Heard and Seen is a charity which provides support and interventions for children with a parent in prison. The charity was set up in 2014, with a focus on reducing intergenerational offending, and mitigating the impacts of parental imprisonment for children and young people. Whilst we are primarily based in Oxfordshire, the introduction of online support during the pandemic means that we are now able to accept referrals to support families across the country.

In 2019 we won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise the exceptional service within their communities. In 2020, we were also awarded the Outstanding Regional/Local Organisation Award by the Criminal Justice Alliance for our work in supporting families throughout the pandemic. In 2022, we were awarded the Positive Impact Award by the Violent Crime Prevention Board, and the Directors Special Award at the Kids Count Inspiration Awards in Westminster. In June 2023, we were awarded the Stephen Lloyd Award for our work with the Thames Valley Police on Operation Paramount. In November 2023, we were awarded the Centre for Social Justice Award for our commitment to breaking the cycle of reoffending, for our innovative programmes, and for our work to address root causes.

Registered Charity Number 1157879

Our Purpose

Children Heard and Seen, is a charity that works to mitigate the effects of parental imprisonment on children, young people and their families. We aim to provide quality services for children with a family member in prison.

When a family with a parent in prison takes the brave step of getting in touch with us, our specialised staff work with them to create a tailored wraparound and holistic package of support. We work with the family to determine the developmental needs of each child, the nature of the parent’s offence and the child’s relationship with the imprisoned parent. 

Our Core Values

Our core aim is to mitigate the harms of parental imprisonment for children and young people. We have a strong track record of service delivery and have provided active support to over 1100 children since our inception.  Nationally, 65% of boys with a parent in prison go on to commit an offence. Of the 1100+ children we have supported, only five have gone on to offend, showing a fall to just 0.5%.

Children Heard and Seen adopts a whole family approach with the child(ren) at the centre. Working from an understanding that each child is unique and requires individualised, tailored support that meets their specific needs. There are three core indicators.

  1. Children with a parent in prison are supported during an incredibly difficult period in their life
  2. Learning is formalised surrounding the experience of the children to build a solid evidence base for research led policy that results in the implementation of a national framework of good practice around identification and support
  3. Awareness is raised regarding the experiences of children with a parent in prison to influence social attitudes and reduce feelings of stigma, shame and social isolation

For more information about the work that we do, please read our brand new Impact Report, available to view below.

Our Policies

Our Supporters

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