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Good Beginnings Australia The greatest gift you can give a child is a good beginning.

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Presentation on theme: "Good Beginnings Australia The greatest gift you can give a child is a good beginning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Good Beginnings Australia The greatest gift you can give a child is a good beginning

2 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Using Collaboration and Technology to Support the Children of Incarcerated Parents – A Case Study Melinda Spencer

3 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Who is Good Beginnings? Good Beginnings is a national not-for-profit children’s charity that focuses on giving children the best possible start in life.

4 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Child Focused Community Development Universal Supported Groups Volunteer Family Support Targeted Supported Groups Intensive Family Support The Five Pillars- A Continuum of Care

5 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Our guiding values Child-focused Strengths-based Local ownership Inclusiveness Collaboration Evidence-based practice Innovation Reflective practice

6 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Why focus on the children of incarcerated parents? Invisible victims of crime 60-85% of prisoners have dependent children (Foley & Walsh, 2001) 3-6 times more likely to exhibit violent behaviour (Lee, 2005) Disproportionately represented in clinical populations (Murray & Farrington, 2008) 6 times more likely to engage in offending (King, 2005)

7 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Dad’s & Kid’s Connect Program - Hakea Prison Supporting the Connection between fathers at Hakea and their children through: 1.Individual Support for Dads Screening for parenting needs/priorities Ongoing parenting support, advice Referral (other programs, support) Advocacy (with DCP, guardians, Family Court) Liaison (eg. With ex partner regarding contact with children after separation/estrangement)  Information (VRO’s, Family Law, Family Court etc) 2. Support for children & families Outreach support and information to parents/guardians and children Assistance with visits including liaison with DCP, Hakea prison, other family members Practical support including transport and supervision of children during visits  Referrals to community services  Advocacy (DCP etc) 3. Parenting Education – 2 day program Group parenting education/support Discussions/activities cover: - Roles & Responsibilities - Healthy Relationships - Communication Skills - Ages & Stages of Development - The Importance of Play - Nutrition - Discipline & Difficult Situations - Parenting from Prison

8 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning The situation at Hakea Prison Maximum Security Remand Population Designed for 650 prisoners, current population = 780 Peaked at 928 in 2009 Overcrowding continuing Plans to expand Remand prisoners = 1 visit per day Sentenced prisoners = 2 visits per week 38 tables, 4 visit sessions per day 1 Family Incentive Visit per month

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25 The first 12 months….. Relationships formed Program Implemented Observations Ideas for change Solid understanding of the difficulties faced by families

26 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Many families reside in rural/remote areas, or overseas

27 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Public transport difficult Visit times not convenient Weekend visit sessions in high demand Visit procedures rigorous and daunting for some families Prison environment not conducive to children visiting Videolink visits largely inaccessible Some families opt not to tell the children about the incarceration

28 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning The birth of the E-Visit Program SKYPE technology available and free Great opportunity to engage with families and provide support BUT security concerns………. –Restricted internet access in prison –No facility –Storage of equipment

29 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Collaboration with the Prison

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32 Case Study 1: Joe Joe 27 yrs old Separated from his daughter’s mother 3 yrs prior Previous sole carer, with support of his parents History of serious mental health issues History of substance abuse Supportive family Offending history linked to mental health and substance use issues On remand for 1 year, sentenced to 5 yrs in custody Bella 5 yrs old In care of paternal grandparents Unaware of Joe’s incarceration Weekly contact with her mother who also has substance abuse issues The Situation Daily phone contact Excellent attachment No face to face contact for 10 months Grandparents opposed to Bella visiting due to Prison environment

33 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Case Study 2: Adam Adam – 30 yrs old In a de facto relationship for 5 years with the mother of his children History of severe abuse as a child Dysfunctional family and social relationships History of alcohol abuse History of mental health issues History of violent behaviour Limited confidence in parenting and relationships with his children Limited knowledge and experience of positive parenting and age appropriate interaction Keen to address issues and improve relationships 2 children – Jordan – 4 & Chelsea – 1, Living in NZ with their mother The Situation - Daily phone contact Distant relationships with the children Strained relationship with partner No face to face contact for approx 6 months

34 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Outcomes observed Fathers reconnected with children residing remotely, interstate or overseas Regular, meaningful contact Improved communication and interaction Enhanced parenting skills through GBA support and modelling Increased parenting knowledge, confidence and self esteem Stronger, supported families

35 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning PACO’s interview

36 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Where To From Here: Incorporated within mainstream visit options at Hakea Good Beginnings to remain first point of contact for fathers with young children Commissioner looking to implement in all WA prisons QUESTIONS ?????

37 The greatest gift you can give a child is a Good Beginning Thanks for listening! Melinda Spencer Coordinator Dad's and Kid's Connect Program – Hakea Prison Good Beginnings Australia Ph: Mob: Web:


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