9 November 2021
SHINE for Kids is pleased to announce the launch of our first 1800 hotline service to support families in NSW with loved ones in custody during the pandemic. The hotline is now operational and is open 7 days a week so that we can support children with a parent in prison during this difficult time.
With the introduction of COVID-19 to correctional centres in the past few months, our team has been inundated with calls from concerned families. While Corrective Services NSW has been implementing safe options for COVID-positive people in custody to contact their families and managing the changing situation on the ground, we identified the need for a dedicated COVID-19 hotline.
Families can reach both our Aboriginal Support Workers and Family Support Workers on 1800 744 630 and our teams will help connect them with the information they need about their relative and support families with concerns about their loved one’s wellbeing.
Our team has established a network of contacts across NSW correctional centres to ensure accurate and timely information can be gained on behalf of our families. We work in partnership with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to ensure children are supported during this difficult time.
Prior to the establishment of this hotline, we were contacted by 38 families with a loved one with COVID who we are now supporting and we expect to receive many more calls in the coming weeks as concerns and potentially cases increase with the relaxation of restrictions.
One of the first people we helped was a pregnant woman who was very concerned about the wellbeing of her partner in custody as she hadn’t heard from him since he was found COVID positive. Our team was able to establish a connection to him and pass on messages, including the exciting news to the new dad of the birth of his baby boy.
“This hotline offers families a new pathway so we can connect them not only with support during COVID but with other programs and services they can benefit from into the future,” said Susan Plunkett, NSW State Manager, SHINE for Kids.
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 Sophie Zoellner at [email protected]