Children of Prisoners



In the UK over 312,000 children have a parent in prison – that is the equivalent to the population of Wirral.

Children of prisoners are at risk of significantly worse outcomes than children not affected by parental imprisonment. These include, amongst others, an increased risk of future offending, mental health issues, and poor educational attainment.

Having a parent in prison is considered one of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) which can have a profound negative impact on children’s Outcomes. ACE’s are “highly stressful, and potentially traumatic, events or situations that occur during childhood and/or adolescence. They can be a single event, or prolonged threats to, and breaches of, the young person’s safety, security, trust or bodily integrity.” (Young Minds, 2018).

The imprisonment of a parent/carer may be an entirely proper outcome from the Criminal Justice System, but the children left behind are a vulnerable group who require additional support and a trauma informed approach from all services to prosper.

Services in Wirral

If you are working with a family where a parent is in prison or is being sent to prison, you can make a referral (with the family’s consent), or the family can self refer to Time Matters UK.

Time Matters UK is a Merseyside based service who provide group and individual support for children and young people aged 5yrs to 18yrs, both face to face and online. Services they offer include Peer Support Groups, Online Support Groups and 1:1 Mentoring in Schools. Their referral form can be found here, and more information about their trauma informed approach  can be found on their website here.



The National Prisoners Families’ Helpline:

Prison Advice Charity:


Further Information and Resources

1. Vulnerabilities Poster:


2. Crest (a Crime and Justice Consultancy) published a 2019 report highlighting the plight of children of prisoners:

3. Executive Summary of the Crest Report:

4. What About Me? Prison Reform Trust report about the impact on children when mothers are involved in the criminal justice system:

5. Time Matters Safe Together booklet for children of prisoners:

6. Time Matters A6 card for printing and giving to children who have had a parent arrested or imprisoned (A4 pdf with 4 cards on a page):

7. Link to WSCP page about Adverse Childhood Experiences

8. Link to WSCP page about Adverse Childhood Experiences Training (registration required to book on training)



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