Children Heard and Seen is an Oxfordshire-based charity established in 2014 in order to support children and families impacted by parental imprisonment. Children with a parent in prison are at a much greater risk of experiencing mental health problems, often manifesting as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and/or eating disorders. Negative school experiences such as bullying, persistent truanting, and a failure to achieve in educational settings are also common in this demographic, alongside an increased likelihood of committing criminal offences. Despite this, there is currently no statutory framework in place designed to support, or even identify, these children. We are the only UK charity dedicated to supporting this isolated and stigmatized group of young people. We offer family support work, 1-1 support, a volunteer mentor for 12 months, Drawing and Talking therapy sessions in school, music projects and holiday activities.
What makes our support different from that offered by other organizations is the highly tailored and personalized approach we take to supporting families, as we recognize that no two children’s experiences are the same.
The value of our work has been recognized by outside organizations throughout our development. In 2019, Children Heard and Seen were delighted to be awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. We are also incredibly proud to say that we have, just this month, been awarded the Outstanding Regional/Local Organization Award by the Criminal Justice Alliance.