Adjusting to a new life

Families Outside received a referral  from a local school who had attended one of our training sessions at their local prison and also by a Peers Early Education Partnership (PEEP) worker who had encountered the mother at one of the family visit sessions at the prison.

The father is currently on remand but is expected to receive a long-term sentence.

The school raised concerns about the eldest daughter, whom they felt was struggling with her dad’s recent imprisonment.

The PEEP support worker also felt that mum, who had recently given birth, was in need of some ongoing support managing changes (financial and otherwise) within the household and with the emotional upset caused by her partners’ actions.

With a large family, life at home was chaotic and initial engagement was difficult, which meant that the family was missing out on receiving the level of support needed at this difficult time. Added to this, her partner had been held locally but was moved much further afield to Inverness, giving rise to concerns about contact.

With this in mind, we discussed ways of working together and utilising the Virtual Visits trial scheme running from the Action for Children Prison Visitors’ Centre for HMP Inverness to maintain contact. We agreed that we would pay travel for the family to attend regular meetings with Families Outside at the Visitors’ Centre; the children would then be able to play and use facilities, and we would have better opportunity to make plans for progressing forward.

By meeting the family at the Visitors’ Centre, it was easier to engage with them and provide access to help from other services. This was particularly beneficial over the Christmas period when they were able to get support with gifts from Cash for Kids Xmas Appeal, warm clothing, and a food bank.

The mum also feels more confident that, once dad’s sentence is known, if needed Families Outside will be able to support her with making an appeal hopefully to have him brought closer to home.

All of this also helps with her daughter’s mental wellbeing, and the outcomes have also been fed back to school / welfare, allowing for support plans to begin being developed which will then hopefully help the children to cope better with this difficult period.

If you or your family are facing similar difficulties, or would like to talk to our team about your friend or family’s imprisonment, call our Helpline on 0800 254 0088

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