Schools Information Sharing Day

Should schools know if a child has a parent in prison?

Fourteen year old Siân is pictured with Huddersfield lecturer Ben Raikes An innovative day-long ‘Schools Information Sharing Day: Children of Prisoners’ was hailed a great success when held at the University recently.

The event held as part of the COPING Project and led by Professor Adele Jones, Director of the Centre for Applied Childhood Studies, saw professionals come together to discuss the needs of children who have a parent in prison.

A controversial topic brought up for debate was whether schools should be given the right to know if a child has an imprisoned parent and if so, would this actually be in the best interests of the child?

Many including teachers and youth workers thought this should be compulsory, along with additional help and support being made readily available for children and their families, if required.

A well-known person to the COPING Project, fourteen year old Siân who has a father currently serving a lengthy prison sentence, spoke about her own personal experience of having a parent in prison.

Siân, along with another teenager, Raheel, made history in September of last year when they addressed delegates at the United Nations’ Day of Discussion on Children of Imprisoned Parents. This was the first time that the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child had ever invited young people to take part in their proceedings.