A Child/Parent Activity Day is a special day set aside for children of prisoners to spend time with their parents. Other family members do not attend – it's specifically for the inmates and their children.
A Child/Parent Activity Day attempts to provide a more "normal" environment in which a child and parent can interact, by providing activities that child and parent can do together, for example, creating art and craft or playing ball. Giving the imprisoned parent an opportunity to make their child's lunch, to feed a bottle, play and create without the other carer present can be empowering for them by allowing them to participate in an everyday parenting task that they're otherwise unable to undertake.
When are the Child/Parent Activity Days held?
This program usually operates in school holidays so that most children can attend.
Some correctional centres hold them just prior to Christmas.
Where are they held?
Currently Child/Parent Activity Days are only facilitated in nominated correctional centres, where a poster is displayed advertising the event and providing application information for the inmate parent.
How do they happen?
Inmates should collect an application form from Welfare, fill out the form and return it to Welfare by the specified due date.
Carers will be contacted and an information package, including carer permission forms, will be sent to the carers. These will need to be returned to SHINE for Kids in the supplied prepaid envelope by the specified cut-off date.
Who can participate?
Child/Parent Activity Days are for inmates and their children, 0–18 years old.
A criminal history check is conducted on each inmate applying. Inmates who have a history of child sex offences will not be allowed to participate in this program.
A case management will be conducted to recommend to the General Manager who should participate in the day. The case management meeting will take into account the following:
- The relationship between the inmate and the child/children
- Whether the Carer has returned the carer permission form
- Whether the child/children want to attend
Inmates will be advised if successful after the General Manager has approved the applications.
Other things to know
- A Child/Parent Activity Day is held for a longer period than usual visits. It spans 4 hours, and morning tea and lunch is provided for the children and inmates.
- SHINE for Kids can supply transport to these days but there are very limited places and this service is based on need only. Otherwise carers are to transport the children to the centre and pick them up at the nominated time.
- No money is to be brought into the centres. However if the child requires certain foods (for example, baby food), then carers are to supply it on the day as they would on normal visits.