On 12 September, ten Members of the European Parliament placed a Written Declaration (WD) on the protection of children with imprisoned parents before the parliament under Rule 136 of the body’s Rules of Procedure. Read the text here. The sponsoring MEPs, members of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on Children’s Rights, include Patrizia Toia (Italy), Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (Italy), Caterina Chinnici (Italy), Silvia Costa (Italy), Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (Sweden), Luigi Morgano (Italy), Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (France), Nathalie Griesbeck (France), Marian Harkin (Ireland), Jean Lambert (UK).

The WD [P8_DCL(2016)0084], a statement of policy, calls upon the Commission to consider the possibility of establishing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for children of prisoners at EU level, drawing on the landmark MoU signed by Italy in March 2014 and renewed on 6 September 2016, the first of its kind for this group of children. The MOU protects the child-parent relationship and allows parents to be present at key moments in their children’s education, thus safeguarding the best interests of children. The WD also calls on the Commission to promote the development of policies that help combat discrimination and build a more cohesive society.

More than half of the MEPs—currently 376—must sign the WD before 12 December 2016 for it to become the official position of the European Parliament.

Please join forces with us to help promote the WD and better the lives of the estimated 800,000 children affected by the incarceration of a parent in the EU.

Author: Hannah Lynn