When a child’s sole parent or parents are sent to prison, there is currently no automatic system in place in England & Wales to offer support to them, or to their wider family. Remarkably, there is no statutory safety net in place to ensure that they are being safely cared for. Pact believes that this is wrong. 

We think that when a child’s parent or carer is removed, the decent and proper thing to do is to check that the child’s needs are being met. Pact advocates for support for children and vulnerable adult dependents when their parents or carers are sent to prison. We argue that there needs to be a better system in place in the courts to ensure that no child, or dependent, is placed at risk of harm when their parent or carer is remanded or sentenced to custody.

Thanks to our efforts, new guidance has been issued to Magistrates to raise awareness amongst those passing sentence that checks should be made to ensure that children and dependents are being appropriately cared for and supported. We sent awareness posters to every Magistrates court, and published articles in relevant journals. We have also raised awareness in the House of Lords, with MPs, and with big children’s charities like NSPCC and Barnardos, which have now taken on the issue. But much more needs to be done. Why not write to your MP to urge them to raise the issue of why children whose parents are sent to prison get left behind?