In April, Families and Friends of Prisoners (FFP) welcomed COPE’s new Applicant member from Romania, Alternative Sociale, an organisation working with and for children of prisoners and their families in Romania. The visit was an interesting and rewarding experience for both organisations, which allowed them to share information about their work, experiences and best practice. FFP were very interested to find out about the Romanian practices, in particular their social support services for children and their families (mediation with Child Protection and Social Services for families to receive their benefits; with schools in order to include children in after-school programs; and with medical institutions for specialised check-ups or interventions) and advocacy aiming to improve prison visiting conditions, with a view to making them more child-friendly.
“It has been impressive to see the work and determination of a team of dedicated people. I have appreciated the hospitality of Families and Friends of Prisoners as well as learning about their cooperation with other NGOs and state agencies in order to promote the rights of children with imprisoned parents.”
Liliana Foca, project coordinator, Alternative Sociale
“For Alternative Sociale, the meetings with representatives from private and governmental services for children of prisoners, imprisoned people and former prisoners in Norway have been inspirational and, at the same time, have given us the opportunity to see excellent professional results.”
Catalin Luca, Executive Director, Alternative Sociale
As a follow up to this visit, Alternative Sociale intend to follow the example of Families and Friends of Prisoners by starting to work more closely with governmental institutions, notably the Romanian Prison Administration, in promoting the contact between a child and their imprisoned parent as the child’s right, as enshrined in Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.