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Top tips for families

Looking after a child whose parent is in prison can be a difficult time for everyone involved. You have an important role to play in the child's life, as well as coping with your own feelings about the imprisonment. We hope the tips on this page will help you better support the child or children in your care.

Supporting a child with a parent in prison

Supporting a child with a parent in prison, might be something you never thought you would have to do. The situation may be complicated and you may be navigating the criminal justice system for the first time. Spurgeons have been supporting families affected by imprisonment for some time and we have put together some information to help you explore common questions you may be having including how to tell the child and how to best support the child through this time.

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What to say to the child

One of the biggest concerns you may have, whilst caring for a child who has a parent in prison, is how to tell them, what to say and when. We have put together some helpful tips which we hope that you will find useful.

Being a parent / carer

Every child will react differently to being told that their parent is in prison. You may feel unsure or alone but more families go through this than you think. Below we have provided some pointers which may help you in your role supporting a child with a parent in prison.

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Supporting a child with a parent in prison leaflet

Download a printable copy of our information for those supporting a child with a parent in prison

Supporting a child visiting a parent in prison

Visiting their parent in prison is a great way for a child to keep in contact and deal with the separation. You might want to do some research before the first visit, so you can prepare the child.

You may like to visit the prison on your own first. Each prison runs visits differently, so it's a good idea to find out what to expect when taking a child or children along. Things to find out include:

  • Are there play facilities in the visitors' centre?
  • Do they have refreshments on sale? Can you take your own?
  • Is there a better time to bring children along?
  • Is there anything for older children to do?
  • Can the child touch their parent and move around?
  • What facilities are there for pushchairs, nappy changing and feeding?
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Prison visits

Some children may want to visit their parent in prison, whilst others will not. It's a good idea to discuss this with them first. Some things to think about include:

Supporting a child visiting a parent in prison leaflet

Download a printable copy of our information for those supporting a child visiting a parent in prison

Find out more

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Preparing for your visit

Information on booking and preparing for your visit

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Storybook Dads

Hear about how the Storybook Dad programme works

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Family days

Our family days are a way for children to connect with their parent in prison

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Further Information

Support for families affected by imprisonment

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Hope for Every Child

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