Over 20,000 kiwi kids have a parent in prison, they are over 7 x more likely to end up there as adults, mentors can make the difference.

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Child Welfare Youth

Pillars aim is to break the cycle of intergenerational offending in families by supporting children of prisoners in programmes that support positive futures. As Pillars ambassador the legendary Brad Thorn says "these children find themselves in a situation in which they had no say."

Sadly, research shows that children of prisoners are the 'vulnerable of the vulnerable' in our community, and as a result of social isolation and deprivation are at high risk of being our future offenders.

Summary of programmes, research based, current locations in Christchurch and South Auckland

- Helpline for caregivers of children of prisoners

- Website for children and families with family member in prison

- Wrap around social support service to strengthen social situation for children of prisoners

- Mentoring programme for children of prisoners, role models to inspire positive futures

- Training for community members to work positively with children of prisoners

- Raising awareness of the support children of prisoners need in our community, annual campaign Children of Prisoners Week in September each year

- Working with prisons to ensure family friendly environments for children to maintain contact with their Mum or Dad and work together as a family for a positive future

- Ongoing research and evaluation on what works to support children of prisoners for a positive future

- Other development work including support groups and collaborative community services to support this vulnerable group of our society

Overview of programmes

Pillars core programme is a wrap around support service for caregivers caring for children once a Mum or Dad has gone to prison. Pillars family/whanau workers help to strengthen the social situation these children find themselves in through no fault of their own. Caregivers enrolled in our programme want a positive future for these children.

Along side this runs our mentoring programme that offers children of prisoners a positive and stable role model to guide them and inspire them toward a positive future, free of crime. Our volunteer mentors come from all walks of life and are great friends to children who need support, not stigmatisation for this situation.

We also educate our community so children of prisoners are supported and not marginalised for their situation.

The children Pillars support on our programmes are not currently offending and do not offend while on our programme. So we are helping them before its too late and they are coming to the attention of the criminal justice sector.

Pillars aim is to support these kids to be healthy, stay in education and be participating positively in the community and guide them toward a positive future as a healthy adult.

We offer training to members of the community in how to work positively with children of prisoners and we have a helpline for family members caring for children of prisoners for advice, guidance and support.

Organisation details



Pillars celebrated 25 years of service to the community in 2013 and is working to break the cycle of intergenerational offending by supporting children of prisoners for a positive future.

The issue is real, there are over 20,000 kiwi kids with a parent in prison, a situation that they had no say in but leaves them at risk of going to prison as adults, they are over 7 x more likely to do so than other kiwi kids.

Pillars has helped over 7000 families through various programmes and our helpline that provides non judgemental and confidential support and advice for parents and caregivers caring for children while their parent is in prison. We help strengthen their situation and provide guidance, advice, hope and support in a very challenging time when often the rest of the community is stigmatising them.

Your donation helps us fund our mentoring programme so we can recruit, train, match and support volunteer mentors to be a great mate and inspiring role model for a child who has Mum or Dad in prison.

By supporting Pillars you are making an investment in the 'vulnerable of the vulnerable' children in our community and supporting them towards a future free of crime.

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This organisation page was created on 10 Nov 2008.

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