Breaking Barriers – Ormiston Families

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Developed by the charity Ormiston Families, Breaking Barriers is a non-judgemental service providing support for children and young people affected by the imprisonment of a close family member.

What to expect?

Aimed at children and young people (aged 5-19) with a parent or close family member in prison or the criminal justice system, Breaking Barriers offers tailored one-to-one support to help reduce anxiety, improve emotional wellbeing and strengthen resilience. It can also help the child or young person maintain a connection with the person in prison, whilst supporting parents/older family members who may need signposting to other services – for example, domestic abuse or addiction support.

Children experience a variety of a feelings when a loved one enters the criminal justice system including loss, confusion, isolation, stigma and trauma. It may be hard to share these feelings with school, other family members or friends. Children can also be very worried about what prison is like and what their loved one will be experiencing.

Breaking Barriers offers six to eight weekly sessions with a qualified practitioner, which will be arranged to take place wherever the child or young person feels comfortable and safe – whether that’s at home, in school or walking outdoors. These sessions provide time to explore feelings and ask questions using a variety of resources such as play, interactive activities/games or arts and crafts. Or the sessions can be a time just to talk.

“With your help we learnt that it was ok to talk about daddy in prison and that they aren’t as scary as we imagined. Thank you for all your help.” 

Honor & Debbie, Senior Practitioners for Breaking Barriers Cambridgeshire:

More information:

To access this service, complete and return a referral form, which you can download here from the website.

Referrals can also be submitted from any agency or professional involved with the child or young person – for example, a social worker, youth worker, teacher or GP.

The Breaking Barriers team can also give talks to professionals to help them understand the ‘hidden sentence’ endured by children and young people with a parent or close family member in prison.

If you have any questions, would like to book a talk or chat about a child or young person in this situation, contact the Breaking Barriers team via email.

This support is free.

How to contact

Where to go

Available Throughout Cambridge

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