For the past 40 years, SHINE for Kids has adapted, innovated and advocated to keep families connected.
Our dedicated team of coordinators, facilitators and managers have adapted our services and supports during the pandemic to ensure children with a parent in prison are supported across NSW, Qld, Vic, ACT and now WA.
This dedication is supported by evidenced-based research to ensure our practice and advocacy is informed by diverse voices of expertise.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, our advocacy work for children with a parent in prison increased considerably and our impact in the justice space has grown. These accomplishments include:
- Embarking on the Amplify Your Voice Project to make the voices of children experiencing parental incarceration heard in state and federal governments. As part of this, we made a detailed submission to the NSW Inquiry into Children with a Parent in Prison in 2020. In 2021, a Vic Inquiry into Children with a Parent in Prison was announced following our advocacy with local Member of Parliament Rod Barton.
- Our team members have held positions on a number of community and legal advocacy committees
- We have commissioned ground breaking research led by Monash University on the impact of COVID-19 on children with a parent in prison
- We have also commissioned an external evaluation of our RISE Education Program with Western Sydney University
- We celebrated the outcomes of the external evaluation of our Keeping Us Together parenting program which is now delivered across three states, including WA where we launched services in 2020.
- Consistently over the last four years we have grown our reach from 15 prisons to 30 prisons and continue to work with state governments and private prison providers to ensure every child with a parent prison is supported.
- We are members of the national #RaiseTheAge campaign, advocating for the age of criminal responsibility to be increased to at least 14 years old in Australia so that children are no longer sent to prison. Through our advocacy here we have also drawn attention to the overrepresentation of children with a parent in prison in the juvenile justice system.
- We launched adaptive services including our unique Storytime program and Family Connection Packs
- We launched a 1800 COVID support helpline for families
- Following our Impact 100 Sydney win in 2020, we have launched a new mentoring program Strong Pathways Together with partners CONFIT aimed at young people in juvenile justice.
Imprisonment separates families, deepens social inequality and undermines feelings of belonging and connection. Tackling intergenerational offending requires early intervention and support to keep families connected and help successful reintegration post release.
Although we live in an ever-changing landscape, our core goals and values remain – to keep families connected.
By April Long, National Operations Manager