20th June 2011

On May 13th, over 70 people from the Eurochips network and Catalunya gathered in Barcelona for a conference focussing on Child Participation and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: challenges and new perspectives – where speakers challenged and inspired us to think differently about the way in which we engage with, not just work for, children with parents in prison. The day began with Marie France Blanco (Relais Enfants Parents) being honoured for her vision and passion that made Eurochips possible. There were presentations from Croatia, Sweden, Italy, Spain, UK and Norway that highlighted good practice; Alain Bouregba spoke about children’s resilience to trauma, which reminded us that not all children experience the imprisonment of their parent as a negative experience.

There was also a focus on new research, including the launch of the Danish Institute for Human Rights and Eurochips study – Children of Imprisoned Parents Report. This is the end result of an 18 month EU funded project which considered the Rights of children with imprisoned parents throughout the criminal justice process (from arrest to release), based on studies carried out in Denmark, Northern Ireland, Italy & Poland, and involving the University of Ulster, Bambinisenzasbarre and a range of organisations in Poland. The study includes a detailed and extremely useful analysis of the human rights and children’s rights legal framework relevant to children of prisoners, and it should serve as a powerful tool for us all in terms of the national and European advocacy work we are engaged in. An overview of the major 3-year research project which is being led by the University of Huddersfield and Eurochips -‘COPING’- was also given. It was clear from the animated formal and informal discussions throughout the day that delegates went away stimulated to do more.

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Author: rmchristen