SHINE for Kids opens new offices in South Grafton helping to expand reach

SHINE for Kids opens new offices in South Grafton helping to expand reach

by Freya Lucas

April 22, 2022

National charity SHINE for Kids, which supports children from birth to eighteen years of age who are impacted by the criminal justice system, has opened new offices in South Grafton, New South Wales, which are based in the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House

 

These offices will house the expanding SHINE team who service the Clarence Correctional Centre (CLA) in partnership with Serco.

 

Along with the move to new premises SHINE announced the launch of its RISE Education program for children experiencing parental incarceration in the local area and that the RISE Coordinator will be based in the new offices.

 

SHINE began face-to-face program delivery at CLA in October 2020 and to date has successfully delivered 21 StoryTime programs and 13 Keeping Us Together parenting programs to both women and men in custody. 

 

“We have also recently completed our first Rhythm 2 Recovery drumming program, a therapeutic program supporting emotional wellbeing and reducing psychological distress,” a SHINE representative shared.

 

Serco Justice & Immigration Managing Director Michael Strickland said that the partnership between Serco and Shine for Kids supports positive rehabilitation outcomes for more than 70 percent of parents currently in custody at Clarence Correctional Centre.

 

“The services provided by Shine for Kids have been keeping families connected, particularly through the pandemic, which is important for the successful rehabilitation and reintegration to home and community life for people post-release,” Mr Strickland shared. 

 

“Serco are proud to work with community organisations such as SHINE for Kids to facilitate tailored programs that deliver positive outcomes throughout an inmate’s individual rehabilitation journey, as well as for their families, and the broader community.”

 

SHINE’s most popular program is StoryTime which has seen many families stay connected or become reconnected. Children missing their parent receive a truly special experience in the form of a voice recording with mum or dad reading a bedtime story chosen just for them. One dad who completed our StoryTime program shared the following feedback:

 

“StoryTime made me feel like being a parent again. It helped me connect with my kids … This is my first time in prison, you are all caught up focussing on yourself and trying to cope. You feel shame and don’t know how to talk to your kids. My son’s reaction to the books was incredible. He put the book I wrote him under his pillow that night and took it to school the next day.” 

 

Participating in the program, he said, made him reflect on his life and never want to be separated from his children again. Research into the value of family connection for incarcerated parents, such as the Lord Farmer Report from the UK shows that just by maintaining family connections, recidivism can be reduced by 39 per cent.

 

All SHINE’s programs are centred on the best interest of the child and promote education and a whole of family post release approach, Acting CEO April Long explained. 

 

“Family stability and recidivism can only be addressed through developing trusting relationships with parents in custody, families on the outside and ensuring children are placed at the centre.”

 

The office opening was celebrated by Ms Long, Mr Strickland, Clarence Correctional Centre General Manager Tony Voss, and the SHINE Clarence team who attended a tour of the building and site visit at CLA.

 

More information about SHINE for Kids is available here

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