In November 2019, the Committee on Children and Young People self-referred an inquiry into the impact on children from having an imprisoned parent.
In this report, the Committee outlines what policies exist to support children of imprisoned parents and the adequacy of services available to them, and it identifies a number of areas where the Committee believes that improvements can be made to achieve positive outcomes for these children.
In many ways, children of imprisoned parents are still an 'invisible' and highly vulnerable group, where no government agency appears to have direct responsibility for their well-being. Separated from at least one of their parents or primary caregivers, they effectively serve a sentence despite having committed no crimes.
This Committee's inquiry explores the legislative and policy interventions that could be made to improve this situation. The Committee makes recommendations that could help reduce the number of parents who are incarcerated, as this is one of the most important preventative measure for improving the wellbeing of children. Where parental imprisonment is unavoidable, the Committee has made numerous suggestions that can help children maintain contact and develop positive relationships between parents and children. The Committee has also recommended that improvements be made in how data on children of imprisoned parents is collected and shared between relevant agencies, with the goal of fostering a whole-of-government response to meeting these children's needs.