Families Outside launch new “My Story” And “My Visit” resources for children with a parent in prison in Scotland

Families Outside, Scotland’s only national charity that works solely with children and families affected by imprisonment has launched two new resources for children with a parent in prison.  The first, “My Story,” was developed by Katie following her experience of her dad being imprisoned.

“My Story” was written by Katie after her dad was sent to prison. It describes the direct experience of a child affected by imprisonment from Katie’s point of view, alongside a number of practical exercises, which can help children cope.

“My Visit” was developed by Families Outside to complement “My Story”. It offers children a photo guide to prison and aims to address some of the fears children may have about life inside prison. It also sets out what they can expect if they decide to go and visit. This resource is also available as a video tour. Many children with a family member in prison will visit them at some point, although not all children will have the opportunity to visit. It can help children feel better about visiting if they know what this is like and where their family member is.

After receiving support from Families Outside Katie wanted to help other children in Scotland. Katie continued to work with Families Outside to develop the “My Story” resource which is now available for families and professionals to download from the Families Outside website.

It is estimated that between 20,000 to 27,000 children and young people are affected by parental imprisonment every year in Scotland. Parental imprisonment is recognised as an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) because of the impact it can have on child’s development and in later life.

Katie, who wrote and illustrated “My Story” said, “Children look up to their parents, but I can’t do that as my dad is in jail. While it is hard to have a dad in prison, in some ways it is good because I know he is safe, off the street and off drugs.

I am really pleased I was able to write and illustrate My Story; I really enjoy writing. Writing helps me to think about my own feelings and emotions so creating My Story helped me to cope. I hope My Story will help other children like me to cope with their emotions and keep their chin up as you get through having a parent in prison eventually.”

Laura Van Der Hoeven, Head of External Engagement at Families Outside said, “I want to thank Katie for giving us the inspiration and working with us to produce ‘My Story’ and ‘My Visit’. Having her Dad in prison has been a difficult experience for Katie but she has worked very hard to tell her story and these resources will now help other children like her across Scotland.

Families Outside is delighted to offer these new resources which we will use to support children across Scotland who are affected by parental imprisonment. Children affected by imprisonment experience a range of emotions and are more likely to suffer from stigma, loneliness and bullying than their peers. We hope “My Story” and “My Visit” will help support children to open up about their own emotions and seek vital support.”

“My Story” and “My Visit”  can be downloaded by any family or professional at https://www.familiesoutside.org.uk/professionals/tools-resources/

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