SCOPE - Supporting Children of Prisoners

What is SCOPE?

Scope is a NIACRO service that provides support to children (aged 0-18) living in the Greater Belfast area, who have a parent or sibling currently in prison.

SCOPE supports children to achieve 3 key outcomes:

  • Improving family relationships
  • Reducing social isolation
  • Ensuring children become better able to cope with the difficulties they may face associated with imprisonment of their parent or sibling and beyond

For further information on this project can be found in the SCOPE information leaflet.

SCOPE is funded by Children in Need.

What does SCOPE offer?

SCOPE provides one-to-one emotional and practical support to children and young people to help them:

  • Adjust to the imprisonment of their parent or sibling by talking openly about what has happened and how the imprisonment has affected them
  • Maintain a relationship with the family member in prison, where appropriate, by providing support to write letters, draw pictures or send emails, in addition to encouraging families to take up child-centred visits in prison
  • Understand more about the custody process and what  it means to have a family member in prison
  • Build confidence to engage with the community by taking part in group activities with other children in a similar situation
  • Develop coping strategies to deal with difficulties such as; expressing emotions appropriately or opening up about how they feel

These one-to-one support sessions can take place in the home, in school, or in the community.

Addtional Information

  • Family sessions are important to help strengthen communication and relationships in the home
  • Support can be given directly to parent or carers to help them to explain imprisonment and talk about prison in an age appropriate way
  • Onward referrals can be made to other support services or local clubs
  • Advice, guidance and information sessions can be provided to other agencies e.g. schools, to help them better support children

How can I access this service?

A referral can be made to SCOPE by contacting:

Claire McKenna (SCOPE, Project Worker) via email or call 028 9032 0157/07989 440 339