Prisoners: Children

Department for Education written question – answered on 25 September 2023.

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Photo of Tulip Siddiq Tulip Siddiq Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help support children who have a parent serving a prison sentence.

Photo of David Johnston David Johnston The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 sets out local areas’ responsibilities to provide support and services. It highlights dependent children of imprisoned parents as a cohort which practitioners should be particularly aware of and should provide the appropriate needs-based advice and support to where needed.

The department’s ambition is for every family to receive the right support, at the right time. In Stable Homes, Built on Love, the department outlined its strategy for whole system reform, including family help which will provide effective and intensive support to any family facing significant challenges.

Prison Mother and Baby Units Admission Boards must be in receipt of a Children’s Services assessment in order to facilitate a Board. Every assessment by a social worker should reflect children’s needs within their family and community context, which would include taking account of a parent being in prison. These children’s circumstances vary considerably and therefore local agencies are best placed to determine what support is needed, whether early help, statutory social care services, or support for other needs such as mental health.

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