Responding to children when their parents are incarcerated: Exploring the responses in Victoria and New South Wales, Australia

Catherine Flynn, Tess Bartlett, Paula Fernandez Arias, Phillipa Evans, Alannah Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


There is considerable research conducted over the past 50 years which describes the impact on children of parental incarceration. Research has also focused on describing the care arrangements of such children. Yet there has been no specific examination of the trajectory of care for these children, the processes surrounding this care, or its resultant quality. This article reports the findings of an ARC funded study examining care planning processes in Victoria and New South Wales for these children. We concentrate in this paper on a subset of data from 124 professional stakeholders, who commented on their experiences of responding to children, in the context of their organisational remit, processes and expectations. Findings indicate that children of prisoners are largely invisible in adult organisations and that there are typically poor or poorly understood interagency protocols to respond to these children. Respondents report relying on informal information, networks and resources and working outside of their role to meet the needs of children. Clear suggestions are made for improvements, including developing child-sensitive services; a child-focused approach and clearer protocols and guidelines for working with others
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4 - 27
Number of pages24
JournalLaw in Context
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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