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SHINE for Kids is pleased to announce the grand opening of our new offices in South Grafton, NSW, which are based in the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House. These offices will house our expanding team who service the Clarence Correctional Centre (CLA) in partnership with Serco.

The office launch is a chance for us to celebrate our partnership with Serco and successes running evidence-based parenting programs for the men and women in custody at CLA. We are also pleased to announce the launch of our RISE Education program for children experiencing parental incarceration in the local area and our RISE Coordinator will be based in our new offices.

SHINE began face-to-face program delivery at CLA in October 2020 and to date have successfully delivered 21 StoryTime programs and 13 Keeping Us Together parenting programs to both women and men in custody. We have also recently completed our first Rhythm 2 Recovery drumming program, a therapeutic program supporting emotional wellbeing and reducing psychological distress.

Serco Justice & Immigration Managing Director Michael Strickland said that the partnership between Serco and Shine for Kids supports positive rehabilitation outcomes for more than 70 percent of parents currently in custody at Clarence Correctional Centre.

“The services provided by Shine for Kids have been keeping families connected, particularly through the pandemic, which is important for the successful rehabilitation and reintegration to home and community life for people post-release,” said Mr Strickland. “Serco are proud to work with community organisations such as Shine for Kids to facilitate tailored programs that deliver positive outcomes throughout an inmate’s individual rehabilitation journey, as well as for their families, and the broader community.”

SHINE’s most popular program is StoryTime which has seen many families stay connected or become reconnected. Children missing their parent receive a truly special experience in the form of a voice recording with mum or dad reading a bedtime story chosen just for them. One dad who completed our StoryTime program shared his story:

“StoryTime made me feel like being a parent again. It helped me connect with my kids … This is my first time in prison, you are all caught up focussing on yourself and trying to cope. You feel shame and don’t know how to talk to your kids. My son’s reaction to the books was incredible. He put the book I wrote him under his pillow that night and took it to school the next day.” He said the experience made him reflect on his life and never want to be separated from his children again.

This feedback supports the importance of family connection. We know from the Lord Farmer Report in the UK that just by maintaining family connections, we can reduce recidivism by 39 per cent.

Our Acting CEO April Long says:

“SHINE is a national leader in supporting children with a parent in prison. SHINE tailors evidenced-based programs and practices to support parents in custody to stay connected to their children.

“All programs are centred on the best interest of the child and promote education and a whole of family post release approach. Family stability and recidivism can only be addressed through developing trusting relationships with parents in custody, families on the outside and ensuring children are placed at the centre.”

We are proud to be able to operate wherever there are parents in custody and their children in need of support and celebrate that our partnership with Serco has allowed program delivery to continue and expand despite the pandemic.

The office opening was celebrated by our Acting CEO April Long, Serco Managing Director Justice and Immigration Michael Strickland, Clarence Correctional Centre General Manager Tony Voss, and the SHINE Clarence team who attended a tour of the building and site visit at CLA.

SHINE for Kids is the only national charity providing crucial support to children and young people with incarcerated parents or relatives and has been operating for almost 40 years.

For all media enquiries, please contact our media team at [email protected]