Children Heard & Seen

Children Heard and Seen (CHAS) support children, young people and their families who are impacted by parental imprisonment. It is estimated that 312,000 children each year have a parent in prison, although there is no database of who these children are and whether they are receiving support. In their 7 years of operation, CHAS have worked alongside over 250 families and over 700 children and young people. The charity’s child-centred approach strives to support the needs of children with a parent in prison, listen to their concerns, and have their views heard and reflected in policy. 

Children Heard and Seen offer 1-1 support with trained staff, volunteer mentoring, parent support, peer support groups for children, online activities for children, and family activity days.  

1:1 Sessions provide children with an opportunity to talk about fears relating to having a parent in prison and help children to understand the process of imprisonment by covering each stage of the custodial sentence. Group sessions combat feelings of shame by showing children that they are not alone. By speaking with other young people, children are able to share coping strategies and manage complex emotions surrounding their parent’s imprisonment. 

In 2019, Children Heard and Seen were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise the exceptional service within their communities. In 2020, CHAS were also awarded the Outstanding Regional/Local Organisation Award by the Criminal Justice Alliance for our work in supporting families throughout the pandemic.