A parenting order is an order that requires the parents of children or young people who have committed an offence to:
- comply with the requirements specified in the order - this should be for no longer than 12 months
- attend counselling or guidance sessions as specified in the order - this should be for a concurrent period no longer than three months and not more than once in any week.
The aim of a parenting order is to help you to protect and prevent your child from committing further offences by helping you to do the following:
- establish boundaries
- agree on sanctions
- understand adolescence
- improve family relationships
- improve community life
The youth offending team aims to support you so that you can make your parenting order a success. If you have any problems with attendance or other problems in fulfilling the terms of the order, please let your youth offending team officer know as soon as possible.
If you do not co-operate with a parenting order, you may be charged with a breach of the order which is a criminal offence for which you can be fined up to £1,000.
Parents in Tower Hamlets can also attend a parenting programme called ‘Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities’ which lasts for 13 sessions. The programme is jointly commissioned by the youth offending service and children’s social care service. The programme is not solely run for the parents of children who commit offences and parents attend the programme on a voluntary basis.
The parenting programme was created to meet the needs of minority ethnic communities and has been evaluated as an effective programme for parents from all backgrounds. It covers the role of parenting beyond the nuclear family and the importance of faith groups and the community in giving parents and children the support they need.
Initially you will be encouraged to attend a programme voluntarily if your child’s youth offending team officer makes the assessment that you are in need of support. Your officer is required to comment in their court reports for children and young people under 16 years, on whether imposing a parenting order would be appropriate. These reports are used to assist the courts in deciding on appropriate sentencing.
The youth offending team will only propose voluntary attendance at the programme to the court once. If you fail to attend voluntarily having agreed to do so, the team will recommend that a parenting order is imposed on you if at any time afterwards your child needs to be sentenced.
If a parenting order is imposed on you, a member of the youth offending team will meet you along with a representative from the Parenting Centre to explain the details of the parenting order programme. This meeting will help decide whether group or individual support is most appropriate in your case.