Today, Rod had a fantastic meeting with April, Moana & Andrew from SHINE for Kids!
SHINE for Kids supports children, young people and families with relatives in the criminal justice system. As I learnt, the experiences of these young people are often unheard.
SHINE for Kids have a variety of programs that are aimed at supporting young people with mentors and education services as well as programs that maintain the connection between the children and their parents.
We discussed a number of issues including raising the age of criminal responsibility, the lack of data collection of children with a parent in the criminal justice system and the cost to society when family support is non-existent.
What was really striking is that these children with parents in custody are 6 times more likely to end up in prison.
Despite this statistic, in Victoria there is no one who collects data on how many children have a parent in custody. This should be addressed.
SHINE for Kids support 31 children in the Eastern Metropolitan Region who have parents in custody and 2 their volunteers are also based in Rod’s electorate.
We need greater wrap-around services for the entire family if we are going to end this perpetual cycle of disadvantage. More than that, we need accurate data that can identify children who have parents in custody and target services.
The cost of doing nothing is significant yet often invisible. It is the cost of a lifetime of unemployment, the cost of our prisons and the cost of not completing education.