VACRO adopts a throughcare approach; working with individuals, families and communities at the time of arrest, through court, in the prison system and as they transition safely back into community life (dependent on funding).
This group typically experiences multiple levels of disadvantage including high rates of poverty, ill-health, intellectual disability, mental illness, substance addictions (Attorney General’s Justice Statement 2, October 2008:31). Often, individuals entering prison have histories of domestic violence, family breakdown, child maltreatment and homelessness Given that most prisoners will return to the community, VACRO perceives benefit in the provision of support to this group of clients.
Parental contact with the criminal justice system affects children 'through combined traumas of parental arrest, parent-child separation, loss of family income, changes in childcare arrangements, caregivers own distress and difficult experiences of visiting prisons' (Murray 2007, p.56) and increased probability of offending later in life.
These stressors also create higher levels of anxiety and depression experienced mainly by cargivers: mothers, older children and grandparents. Grandparents face psychological consequences of gaining a grandchild but losing their own child. They deal with feelings of inadequacy at their own parenting, and grief at the loss of their child and their own freedom. Many grandparents see this as their only alternative to permanent loss of the child to state care.