The majority of women prisoners all over Europe are mothers; a high percentage of them are the sole care giver of their child/ren & they have suffered multiple forms of social exclusion as well as of abuse already prior to their imprisonment; among other implications, these risk factors can lead to impaired parental abilities. This, along with the imprisonment of a parent can have devastating effects on children’s development & mental health; children of imprisoned parents (CHIP) are also at greater risk of being homeless or institutionalized, incarcerated themselves & of being exposed to abuse due to inadequate parental supervision.

The project “Raising a Child through Prison Bars” targets 5 particularly vulnerable groups of beneficiaries in 3 Balkan countries (Bulgaria-Greece-Romania):
  • imprisoned mothers & pregnant women
  • infants living in prison
  • children & young people whose parent is/was incarcerated.
Direct beneficiaries of the project will be about 290 imprisoned mothers (IM) & 120 Children of Imprisoned Parents (CHIP) participating in the project’s intervention activities in 3 countries.

The project’s objectives are to contribute to:
  • support Imprisoned Mothers & future mothers to handle their own experiences of abuse [either Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Child Abuse & Neglect (CAN)] & accomplish their parental role in as an effective way as possible
  • prevent & combat CAN as well as to provide support to Children of Imprisoned Parents in order to both disrupt the cycle of violence & enhance children’s resilience
  • collect data in 3 EU countries aiming to map the Imprisoned Mothers population in regards to demographic information, needs & problems faced by Imprisoned Mothers, their children & families, as well as in regards to CAN & attachment style for both Imprisoned Mothers & Children of Imprisoned Parents, IPV experience of IM & mental health of CHIP.

The project's objectives will be accomplished by conducting thorough Research & Needs Assessment surveys; conducting Mothers’ Support Groups (M-SG) & Family Ties Building Activities in 8 women’s prisons as well as Children’s Support Groups (CHIP-SG) in 6 cities; developing Supportive Materials for IM & CHIP; building women’s prisons’ personnel capacity through Training & Sensitization Seminars as well as through development of Supportive Materials for Professionals. In addition, 3 National Task Forces will be developed & trained through a Train-the-Trainers Seminar. The expected results of these activities are: enhanced CHIP’s resilience & functionality; enhanced IMs’ parenting skills; strengthened mother-child relationships; enhanced skills & raised awareness of prison personnel.

The deliverables anticipated are a scientific article & 6 publications in 5 languages (English-Greek-Romanian-Hungarian-Bulgarian), namely:
  • Raising a Child through Prison Bars: A Manual for Professionals
  • Step-by-Step Guide for Facilitating a Mothers’ Support Group in Prison
  • Step-by-Step Guide for Facilitating a Children’s Support Group
  • Leaflet for Imprisoned Mothers (IM)
  • Leaflet for Children of Imprisoned Parents (CHIP)
  • Electronic Publication - CD containing all publications in all languages
The project will be described in detail in 8 Reports: the Final & External Evaluation Reports & 6 consolidated Reports describing for each country, the literature review, the training, the 3 interventions & the dissemination activities.

Additional outputs of the project will be:
  • Research tools translated in 4 languages & data regarding IM & CHIP
  • Sensitization courses & 10 Training Seminars in 8 prisons in 3 countries
  • 1 Train-the-Trainers Seminar
  • IM-Support Groups & CHIP-Support Groups, and
  • Special Days-Family Ties Building Activities in 3 countries.
Finally, Exhibitions of the creations from the Family Ties Building Activities in each partner coutnry will be conducted as well as one Conference will be held in Greece.