We are keen to grow as a network, increasing our capacity to work with members in various national contexts; members who understand, stand by and support the network’s key messages and goals.

We are interested in exploring membership with organisations from countries not currently represented, where the applicants are leaders of best practice, or doing significant work on a national or regional level relevant to children of prisoners.

The network has 2 categories of membership who are directly involved in the organisation:

We also welcome affiliates who want to keep in touch with our work.  All new organisations wishing to join the network will be considered initially as applicants before being eligible to become full members.

We are particularly keen to expand our list of affiliates and, in particular, to build on the profile gained from the UN General Day of Discussion (2011) and recent EU projects (the FP7 COPING Framework research project and DG Justice Children of Prisoners study piloted by the Danish Institute of Human Rights).

Benefits of Membership:

Benefits of involvement with the Network (for members and those with applicant status):

  • Access to a European network of expertise, exchange of good practice and information sharing;
  • Sharing in research and development;
  • Information on events related to children of prisoners as well as new developments at the European level;
  • Promotion of members’ work;
  • The opportunity to take part in European projects and events and to lobby together for change;
  • Advice on searching for partners for European projects;
  • Europeanization of the needs of children of prisoners makes the issue of meeting those needs more universal and more pressing, in both the European and national contexts;
  • Shared knowledge and awareness of the complexity and uniqueness of the needs of children who have a parent in prison. Often the general support offered to children cannot simply be replicated for children of prisoners;
  • Attendance at the Annual Network Meeting, General Assembly and conference hosted by a different member each year.
Member and applicant contributions to the COPE Network:

  • The sharing of your particular approach to/expertise in working with children of prisoners;
  • A commitment to the network’s mission, goals, and ethos;
  • A commitment to consolidate and strengthen the network, and raise further awareness about children of prisoners on global, European and national levels .
  • Organise an awareness-raising event on the issue of children of prisoners as part of the network’s annual campaign;
  • Willingness to engage in cross-European projects and information exchange;
  • Opportunity to host the Annual Network Meeting, General Assembly and conference.

Annual Fees:

  • Member Organisations : 120 Euros
  • Applicant Status for Organisations: 80 Euros
  • Individual Members: 30 Euros
  • Affiliate Status for Organisations & Individuals: 20 Euros


Organisational Membership

Organisational membership is open to European-based public, governmental, private and non-profit organisations working with or on behalf of children of prisoners.

Network members are required to adhere to the network’s ethos and way of working and to continue to work actively for the well-being of children of prisoners. The Board will consider other organisations with a regional or local remit doing significant or innovative work in this field as possible members. Members actively participate in network operations and have the possibility of influencing network development.

Organisational members are voted in during the network annual General Assembly on the Board’s recommendation. Confirmed members have full voting rights at ordinary, exceptional and extraordinary General Assemblies.

Representatives of members organisations are eligible to stand as Board Members.  Individuals put forward in this way would be expected to have attended at least two previous General Assemblies and to have demonstrated a commitment to, and understanding of, the ways in which COPE works.

Applicant Status

Applicant membership is open to European-based public, governmental, private and non-profit organisations from Europe working with or on behalf of children of imprisoned parents and/or specialising in prison-related, legal and justice-related or psychological, social and child-welfare fields:

  • All organisations need to demonstrate a commitment to keeping all the children affected by imprisonment in Europe at the heart of decision-making
  • All members must demonstrate an awareness of the importance of respecting and seeking to understand the cultural, legal, practical and political differences between network member countries and to adhere to the network’s ethos ways of working.

They must:

  • Be legally constituted and be able to provide copies of annual reports for the two previous years;
  • Have an organisational bank account controlled by two or more unrelated people;
  • Provide a supporting reference to endorse their application from an official body within their country or an organisational/individual known at a national or European level

The process for joining as an applicant member is stringent as the network wishes to develop a membership with proven track records of effective and collaborative professionals whose work at the national level is in line with the network principles and goals; those whose applicant status may last longer may be organisations intending to move into the field of work with children with imprisoned parents who use the period of applicant membership to develop this focus.

The Board considers offering applicant status within 3 months of receiving the application and will inform those applying whether they have been admitted as applicant members.  Applicant status may last between 1 and 3 years, during which organisations must be seen to contribute to the work of the network (attend General Assemblies, respond to COPE requests, contribute to newsletters, etc.) and adhere to the network’s ethos. Full membership for organisations with applicant status will be considered annually by the Board and recommendations put to the vote for membership at the General Assembly when appropriate.

If a recommendation has not been made after 3 years, the organisation’s status is reviewed. Without a recommendation from the Board for renewal of applicant status, it lapses automatically and they can become an Affiliate Member.

Affiliate Status

Affiliate Status is open to private and public associations and individuals inside or outside Europe who have an interest in the well-being of children with imprisoned parents.

Affiliate Status details:

  • Receive mailings, notice of campaigns and can participate in COPE’s fundraising activities.
  • Can attend the Annual Network Meeting and conference.
  • Cannot attend the General Assembly unless invited to do so.
  • Do not have voting rights and are not members.

Individual Membership

This is a membership category for professionals with a background in working with, or undertaking research into, children of prisoners.

People are invited by the Board to become individual members, or can write to the Board to be considered for individual membership (individuals attached to member organisations or potential member organisations are ineligible to become individual members).

Individual members have voting rights and can be considered for co-option or election to the Board.

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