15th March 2003

KIDS VIP, a UK-based charity working to bolster the relationship between children and imprisoned parents, has officially joined the EUROCHIPS network. Founded in 1993, KIDS VIP currently operates with a staff of three, working with prisons to set up supervised play areas in prisons, promote good practice in the play areas, and develop special visiting arrangements for children and families, including extended children’s visits. They also offer customized training to prison staff, prison play workers and others providing support to prisoners’ families. Training involves one to one sessions, group discussions, group tasks, question and answer sessions, case studies and role play and raises awareness on how imprisonment affects children and how staff attitudes and better facilities can improve the visit for children. KIDS VIP is funded primarily by charitable grants and donations, although special events may be financed by the UK prison service. With their help, the numbers of play areas in prisons in England , Scotland and Wales has increased to 104 over the last ten years. The association supports prison play coordinators, play workers and volunteers through annual regional meetings, customized training and discussion groups; a biannual newsletter; and conferences.

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Author: rmchristen