This Life in Family

“When a parent or juvenile is incarcerated for a small crime, it can result in the separation of families, the loss of educational opportunities for children and families falling further into poverty. I’m proud to be leading a dynamic team to help identify familial networks of support and community based care options for children while providing strong case management and advocacy for families.”Ven Sam, This Life in Family Program Coordinator

This Life In Family is dedicated to supporting vulnerable families at risk of separation due to a parent or primary caregiver coming into conflict with the law. In Cambodia, social protection measures for children with a parent in prison are limited. It falls to NGOs such as This Life Cambodia to work collaboratively with the Cambodian government to fill the gaps.

When a parent is imprisoned,  family dynamics change. The remaining parent has the pressure of earning an income and caring for the children. Children with a parent in prison are also more likely to drop out of school due to financial pressures or having to take care of younger siblings. This family instability can also lead to the separation of siblings and at worst, result in children being placed in institutional care.

This Life In Family has two projects: Family Support and Family Preservation.

Family Support provides tangible assistance to families with a parent or other primary caregiver in prison. Our goal is to reduce the emotional and financial stress and ensure that families stay connected. Taking a case management approach, the Family Support officer assesses the family’s immediate needs and based on that can offer a range of services and solutions including:

  • Income generation support (e.g. pig raising, vegetable growing, silk weaving, basket weaving, grocery selling),
  • Arranging for children to visit their parent in prison,
  • Support for children to make sure they stay in school (providing books, bicycles, uniforms, school fees),
  • Health allowances and emergency support packages
  • Referrals to other NGOs for housing or health related issues

The Family Preservation project aims to intervene at the moment a family member comes into conflict with the law. This ensures that rights are upheld and respected, referrals are provided for legal representation and extended family members or community based care options are identified for minor children. As with the Family Support project our goal is to assist vulnerable families through a very stressful time.  We strive to keep families together and keep children out of institutional care wherever possible.