MORE than 300 children who have a parent in Bathurst Correctional Centre will be assisted thanks to a new funding boost.

While law enforcement focuses on the crime and punishment of the perpetrator, the children of a person in jail are often the “hidden” concern.

A child of someone in prison is five times more likely to follow their parent’s footsteps into jail.

A Westpac Foundation Community Grant of $10,000 will be used to support the work of SHINE for Kids across the Central West.

SHINE for Kids chief executive officer Gloria Larman said the charity works to support children with a parent in the criminal justice system in NSW, the ACT and Victoria.

“It’s quite a hidden issue behind when someone goes to prison. Everything is focused on the prisoner and their punishment, not the two, three or four children left behind,” she said.

“They lose friends, and can be left off birthday [party] lists.”

Thanks to the grant, Ms Larman said more children in Bathurst will be able to receive one-on-one mentoring.

“For mentoring, it’s educational support, and child and parent activities in the jail to allow children with their parents to build on that relationship,” she said.

Activities are organised for children in the same situation, as well as social activities for carers.

“We teach them [parents] how to deal with issues that come up for their children,” Ms Larman said.

The family of someone in Bathurst Correctional Centre will often move to the area, which can further isolate the children.

Ms Larman said this is the first time the organisation has received a grant from Westpac.

HAPPY TO HELP: SHINE for Kids project co-ordinator Trish Carr (centre), with Westpac Bathurst staff Carolyn Palay, Jason Rapley, Emma McKeown and Hanna Lindeman, after the bank announced a grant to support the children of prisoners in Bathurst.
Reproduced courtesy of the Western Advocate