Press Release : First European football campaign launched for children with a parent in detention

Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE) is launching Game with Mum & Dad, a Europe-wide event where children get to play a game of football with a father, mother or caregiver behind prison walls.
Game with Mum & Dad is the first pan-European campaign of its kind to be organised by COPE, a network of child-rights organisations and affiliated stakeholders that spans 37 countries. The event is founded on the COPE network’s shared values of child safeguarding, child participation, non-discrimination and gender equality.

“Playing a game together is a marvellous way for children and parents to strengthen a precious family bond at risk when a parent goes to jail,” said COPE Director Liz Ayre. “This event will draw much needed attention to the rights and needs of these children. We wish to empower these children despite the existence of prison walls.”

The chance to play a game of football with their mother or father and share this playful moment is a normal thing for most children. But it’s exceptional for the more than 2 million children with a parent in detention in Europe. It will remain in their memories for a long time.

The Game with Mum & Dad concept has been pioneered and developed with great success by COPE’s Italian member BambiniSenzaSbarre since 2015. The COPE member network is now projecting Game with Mum & Dad on a European scale, with events scheduled in dozens of different locations, beginning in June and throughout the autumn.

The campaign is part of « Not my crime, still my sentence”, COPE’s annual drive to safeguard the rights and well-being of the hundreds of thousands of children in Europe who have a parent in prison.