Young Children Affected by Parental Imprisonment

The Early Years Scotland Young Children Affected by Parental Imprisonment Programme takes place in six prisons across the country. This includes HMP Castle Huntly, HMP Low Moss, HMP Greenock and HMP Barlinnie, HMP Edinburgh and HMP Cornton Vale. The programme has two components which includes the Early Years Scotland Fathers’ Programme and Learning Together Through Play sessions. The Fathers’ Programme covers topics such as brain development, attachment and bonding, child development, health and wellbeing, childrens’ rights, home safety, the importance of play and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC). The play sessions provide opportunities for prisoners and their young children and families to interact, improve attachment and confidence and play and learn together.

Most of all, these services provide valuable opportunities for children to feel that they have a bond and relationship with their father or mother, when they are in prison.


Fathers’ Programme 
The Fathers’ Programme comprises a mix of theoretical and interactive sessions aimed at supporting fathers to help achieve better outcomes for their children. Fathers are supported to build their skills, knowledge and confidence, all of which can then be implemented during Learning Together Through Play sessions which take place when their children come to visit.  This part of the programme lasts for two hours for a block of ten sessions at a time.  Almost all parents report that participation in the programme improves and strengthens their overall relationship with their child and family.

Learning Together Through Play Sessions 
These sessions are available to those who have completed, or are currently undertaking the Fathers’ Programme, their young children and others involved in the child’s care. These sessions enable fathers to practise the skills gained during the Fathers’ Programme. They then use these skills to ensure that their child benefits through play, improved interactions and a more enjoyable experience when they visit their father in prison.  These fun and interactive play sessions include support from the Early Years Scotland qualified Early Years Practitioner through role modelling by; demonstrating and encouraging families to participate in singing, action songs, rhymes, reading stories, messy play, arts and crafts learning experiences and free play sessions for children using a selection of resources.

Mothers’ Programme
The Mothers’ Programme can be delivered between a 5 – 10-week period, either in small groups or individually. The programme comprises a mix of theoretical, interactive sessions alongside arts and crafts aimed at building knowledge, skills, wellbeing and confidence which can be implemented during visit sessions. The programme can also be tailored to individual needs prior to their release from prison, to work on improving current and future parent child relationships.

Learning Together Through Play Sessions
The interactive play sessions take place during prison visits, where children come along to spend time with their mum as well as their carers. The sessions allow mothers to bond with their child and put into practice the knowledge and skills they have gained during the Mothers’ Programme.

These fun and interactive play sessions include support and role modelling from the EYS early years practitioner through; singing action songs and rhymes, reading stories, messy play, arts and crafts activities and free play sessions for the children with a selection of toys and resources.

Arts and crafts session
Some of the mothers may not receive visits from their children and other family members at the time of programme delivery.  Therefore, EYS will offer the opportunity for mothers to take part in art and craft sessions.  The sessions will allow mothers to be involved in making crafts such as; memory boxes and photo frames for their children, which can then be sent home to their children in the post.

EYS Family Visitor Centre at HMP Low Moss

The Scottish Government has a commitment to ensure all prisons in Scotland have a visitor centre.

Opened in late 2017, the EYS Family Visitor Centre at HMP Low Moss is a place for families and friends to relax before their visit and access independent and impartial advice and information to support prisoners’ families.  Early Years Scotland is working in partnership with HMP Low Moss and we are proud to provide this service.

Contact the centre on 0141 762 9703. Email: [email protected]