Media Release – 12 January 2023
Child advocacy and support group, SHINE for Kids, has called on the NSW Government to prioritise progressing the recommendations made by Parliamentary Committee inquiring into children of imprisoned parents.
SHINE for Kids CEO, Julie Hourigan Ruse, said she was pleased to see the NSW Government broadly support the recommendations and called for fast action on their implementation.
“I commend the good work of the Committee on Children and Young People – it put forward a solid set of recommendations that really reflected the consultation process,” Ms Hourigan Ruse said.
“I’m pleased to see the NSW Government largely support, or support in principle, most of the recommendations, and I’d like to see swift action to improve the support for children with parents in prison.
“The truth is, when a parent goes to prison, there is often no formal support networks in place to ensure their child is properly cared for.
“It often falls to family members to pick up these responsibilities, and if that is not possible, the child is placed in care.
“This is a traumatic experience, and we need to do everything we possibly can to improve the system and ensure children don’t become collateral damage when their parent goes to prison.
“These children should not be punished because of the actions of their parents.”
Ms Hourigan Ruse particularly welcomed the Committee’s recommendation which called for additional funding for organisations that support children of imprisoned parents.
“We strongly support any recommendation that improves the funding for support organisations like ours – we are a charity that exists solely to improve the lives of children in these circumstances,” she said.
“We need to get to a position where support services for children of prisoners are in place in every single correctional facility across the country.
“In Australia, the median age of a woman in prison is 35 years old and more than half (54 per cent) of the women entering prison in Australia report having dependent children.
“That’s why today I am calling on the NSW Government to move as quickly as humanly possible to support children whose parents are in prison.
“It’s not a child’s fault that their parent made a bad decision – so we shouldn’t punish them for it.
“I look forward to working with both the NSW Government and the NSW Opposition on the implementation of these recommendations and making a real difference to the justice system.”
For more information, visit shineforkids.org.au
Media contact: Billy Briggs | 0474 697 235