VACRO is thrilled to announce a new program, Supporting Kids and Families, which will expand our family counselling support to fathers imprisoned at Beechworth Correctional Centre. 

VACRO CEO Marius Smith said the new program would work with men and their families as the men prepare for their return to the community. 

“Going to prison can put a lot of pressure on family relationships, and we know strong family connections are one of the key factors in a person’s successful return home from prison,” he said. 

“Through this program, we’ll support fathers to engage with their role as a parent, develop stronger connections with their families, and further improve their parenting skills – which will ease the transition home and strengthen family relationships.” 

Key points:
  • VACRO will offer family counselling at Beechworth Correctional Centre under a new program called Supporting Kids and Families 
  • The program will enable men in prison and their families in the community to build connections and resilience for his return home 
  • VACRO is grateful to the generous support of the Douglas Foundation for making this program possible 

Supporting Kids and Families will be delivered by VACRO’s accredited family therapist, Romy Same, who currently offers family counselling at the Judy Lazarus Transition Centre under VACRO’s Parents and Families Program. This new program is generously funded by the Douglas Foundation.  

The child-centred nature of Supporting Kids and Families expands on the support offered by the Parents and Families Program, in which the incarcerated parent is the central client. 

Supporting Kids and Families will use a combination of individual and family-based therapeutic counselling sessions, parent-child interactions, and facilitated family meetings, tailored to the unique needs of each family, to ensure the best outcomes for children. 

“We’ll create a safe, supportive space for fathers to express their love for their children, and for children and carers to express their hopes and fears,” said Marius. 

“In turn, this will support the family to build resilience and stronger bonds to navigate the challenges of dad’s return home.” 

VACRO has provided free counselling and parenting engagement strategies to parents at Tarrengower Prison and the Judy Lazarus Transition Centre since 2019, funded by the Department of Justice and Community Safety – Corrections Victoria. 

That work succeeded family counselling for children in communities with a parent in prison in Victoria, which VACRO ran for more than 10 years.

Nearly two in five people in Victoria’s prisons are parents, and an estimated one in 20 children will have a parent incarcerated at some point in their life. 

Evidence and experience show that family support programs can help strengthen the connections that reduce a person’s risk of re-offending, which helps keep communities safe and strong. 

More information