The European Action Research Committee on Children of Imprisoned Parents (Eurochips) was set up in 1993 to provide a voice for the children of prisoners and to explore innovative, child centred approaches to maintaining the child-parent bond in different European countries.
The French organisation Relais Enfant-Parents and The Bernard van Leer Foundation took the initiative in creating a multidisciplinary team of experts working in prison-related or child welfare fields. This task force organised workshops in several countries to draw attention to the issue of prisoners’ children and to underscore the need for quality contact between these children and their parents. Not only for the well being of the child or a parent’s rehabilitation but also as an early prevention of crime. From that perspective the need to take into consideration socio-economic conditions and difficulties was underlined in the report on the situation in eight European countries when it was presented in 1997 at an international conference in Brussels 57. In this report a list of recommendations was handed over to the Member States of the European Union and relevant European Commissions.
Since the 1997 conference, Eurochips pursued its efforts to consolidate its infrastructure and establish legal grounding. Committee meetings were held to draft committee statutes, define major goals and develop various campaigns and activities. In February 2000, a new phase of Eurochips started by formalising the association, followed by a press conference in Paris.
Eurochips membership was open then, as it is now – to both individual and organisational membership (although the two vary in benefits). In both instances, their work has to be related to children of imprisoned parent.
Since 2000, Eurochips has continued to receive funding from The Bernard van Leer Foundation. Over the course of the past ten years, Eurochips has participated in research projects, events and awareness-raising activities across Europe to promote spread of knowledge relating to children with imprisoned parents.
In 2013, Eurochips received an Operating Grant from the European Commission, which included a rebranding deliverable. The Board took the opportunity to reflect on the current identity of the organisation, and after much strategizing and external testing, decided to change the name to Children of Prisoners Europe.
Children of Prisoners Europe will continue to work on behalf of children with imprisoned parents at the national, pan-European and international level in the future.
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