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BUILDING ON WOMENS STRENGTHS The Prison System and Statutory Child Protection System Karina Bell & Zofia Wasiak.

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Presentation on theme: "BUILDING ON WOMENS STRENGTHS The Prison System and Statutory Child Protection System Karina Bell & Zofia Wasiak."— Presentation transcript:

1 BUILDING ON WOMENS STRENGTHS The Prison System and Statutory Child Protection System Karina Bell & Zofia Wasiak

2 BOWS program Building On Women’s Strengths The BOWS program at Sisters Inside supports, advocates, and provides counseling to women with children aged between years of age. There are two Sisters Inside employees within the BOWS program. BOWS program supports women and families to overcome challenges and reunite families. Many of these families are involved with the Dept Communities with child protection matters.

3 The Prison System and Child Safety Services Involvement with both these systems present challenges. Case plans identified by Child Safety aim to address issues such as parenting and child safety concerns. The case plans may identify courses and supports that Child Safety expects families to meet. In prison there is limited access to these programs. Little opportunity is given to the Mother to have input on the development of her children’s caseplan. This can stall and effect reunification for families due to aspects of the case plan not being undertaken.

4 The Prison System and Statutory Child Protection System Cont If case plans are not met in the specified time frame - Child Safety can then apply for another Child Protection Order. Mothers inside prison can feel pressured by Prison or Child Safety staff to agree to case plans or into signing another Child Protection Order. Meetings are often rushed and may be conducted over the telephone and often with no support person for the mother. Women and families are often not aware of their legal rights.

5 Communicating when in prison Mothers have little ability to see or speak with their children. Minimal prison wages impact upon the womens’ ability to have regular contact with their children in care. Child Safety’s inability to facilitate regular contact between mothers and their children. Mothers and children both ‘doing time’ through loss of or little contact with one another. Staff turnover within Child Safety is a common issue.

6 Supporting families within these Systems Advocating and providing support for families. Becoming familiar with relevant Child Protection legislation. Assistance in accessing legal information and representation. Advising families of their rights and options. Supporting families at court, family group meetings and family conferences. Advising how families can appeal and review decisions made through Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, Children’s Commission, Prisoners Legal Service, QLD Ombudsman.

7 \ Stages of The Bows Program There are three stages to the BOWS Program; 1. Pre Release – (prior to release from prison) 2. Post Release Intensive Support – (Weeks 1 – 6) 3. Post Release – (Weeks 7 – 12)

8 Stage 1 Pre Release Liaise with Department of Child Safety for access visits with children. Liaise with area offices for access visits with children. This includes transport and supervision for children to access visits and Friday playgroups in prison, and providing relevant feedback to Area Offices. Meet to plan release and develop a pre release case plan. Accommodation Referral. Counselling & Support. Finances (Centrelink, budgeting), Children, Parenting, Family, Probation/Parole, Work Release, Transport. Drug and Alcohol referral. Employment & Training.

9 Stage 2 Post-Release Intensive Support During this stage, a woman can receive assistance with: Counselling & Support. Development of household management skills. Family mediation. Individual/Family advocacy. Finances. Outreach support to other family support agencies as required.

10 Stage 3 Post-Release Minimal Support Probation & Parole. Monitoring and further development of post-release case plan. Any other activity listed in Stage 2 on a needs basis. Developing exit plan from program and referral to relevant support agencies.


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