Parents who offend
The Probation Service or Community Rehabilitation Company are well placed to identify offenders who pose a risk of harm to children as well as children who may be at heightened risk of involvement in (or exposure to) criminal or anti-social behaviour and of other poor outcomes due the offending behaviour of their parent/carer(s).
Where an adult offender is assessed as presenting a risk of serious harm to children, the offender manager should develop a risk management plan and supervision plan that contains a specific objective to manage and reduce the risk of harm to children.
In preparing a sentence plan, offender managers should consider how planned interventions might bear on parental responsibilities and whether the planned interventions could contribute to improved outcomes for children known to be in an existing relationship with the offender.
With teenage parents that offend this assessment will be undertaken by the Youth Offending Team.
The Prison Service has a responsibility to identify prisoners who pose a risk of harm to children. Where an individual has been identified as presenting a risk of harm to children, the relevant prison establishment:
- Should inform the local authority children's social care services of the offender's reception to prison and subsequent transfers and of the release address of the offender;
- Should notify the relevant probation service provider. The police should also be notified of the release address;
- May prevent or restrict a prisoner's contact with children. Decisions on the level of contact, if any, should be based on a multi-agency risk assessment. The assessment should draw on relevant risk information held by police, probation service provider and prison service. The relevant local authority Children's social care contribute to the multi-agency risk assessment by providing a report on the child's best interests. The best interests of the child will be paramount in the decision-making process;
- A prison is also able to monitor an individual's communication (including letters and telephone calls) to protect children where proportionate and necessary to the risk presented.
- Governors/Directors of women's establishments which have Mother and Baby Units should ensure that:
- There is at all times a member of staff on duty in the unit who is proficient in child protection, health and safety and first aid/child resuscitation; and
- Each baby has a child care plan setting out how the best interests of the child will be maintained and promoted during the child's residence in the unit.
- SWCPP provides detailed guidance for safeguarding children who visit parents in prison or secure establishment