At any one time, more than 20,000 children in Aotearoa/New Zealand have a parent in prison. An in-depth research programme undertaken by Pillars has found that the effects of imprisonment on the children are profound and long lasting. Agencies of Justice and social services can, through poor policies and practices, can and do make things worse for the children.
The purpose of this practice manual is to provide practical guidelines for supporting children in families or whānauwhere a parent is imprisoned. The manual is intended for use by individuals and agencies who work with families and whānauof prisoners in Aotearoa / New Zealand, and the families and whānauthemselves. This includes NZ Police, social workers, court support workers, prison workers, counsellors, community support workers, school teachers and guidance counsellors.
The guidelines in this report are evidence-based and related directly to the findings of the research about children of prisoners in New Zealand. Our aim is to support good practices that touch the lives of the children and minimise trauma. Our aim is to help children and support their resiliency and success.
The report is organised in a way that follows the family and whānauthrough the steps of the justice system, and then details the continued support for the family and whānauin the community when the parent is imprisoned. Each step of the process begins with a short statement based on the research, which is followed by key bullet points, and short stories by family and whānau members. We then detail the good practice strategies.
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