Children of prisoners to be identified as vulnerable
Proposed legislation that seeks to identify children of prisoners as a vulnerable group is to be brought forward at the Scottish Parliament.
A proposed private members’ bill will be introduced that calls for greater information sharing between organisations to ensure schools are aware of the child’s circumstances.
A duty would fall on education departments to provide any additional support that the child requires via funding for additional support for learning as part of GIRFEC.
This extra support, if needed, would be designed to mitigate trauma and prevent vulnerable children following parents down the offending route.
Holyrood understands the intention is to lodge the proposed bill before summer recess once difficulties around costing of the proposals are tackled.
A lack of reliable data on the current number of children affected by imprisonment has complicated efforts to estimate the level of support that would be required.
It comes as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) prepares to reveal interim findings of a study on babies affected by imprisonment at a conference in Edinburgh later this week.
The children’s charity will call for babies affected by parental involvement in the criminal justice system to be formally identified nationally and locally as a vulnerable group by universal health services.
“Children that are affected by parental imprisonment are a kind of invisible group but babies, and especially their emotional needs, are even more so,” NSPCC’s senior policy researcher in Scotland, Susan Galloway, told Holyrood.