CAP Family support Service

We know and understand that Covid-19 has put extra pressures on families affected by imprisonment. You may have a loved one serving a sentence and are worried about keeping in touch now that visits are by video link. Or perhaps he/ she has been released and, though everyone is trying hard, tensions are growing.

Here are some frequently asked questions that our support workers have responded to on the CAP Freephone. We hope you find them helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

FAQ 1. I am struggling during the lockdown. What supports can I get?

We all know parenting can be stressful at the best of times but coping with Covid-19, having to stay in, re-assuring and keeping children safe and occupied has added to these pressures. For some families, Covid-19 has meant their loved one has been released, and, though the release may have been longed for, it means upheaval, change and adjustments having to be made. E.g. money is tight; sharing decision making; dealing with differences in the approach to parenting; feelings of shame and/ or guilt and family roles thrown up in the air.

You are not alone with these feelings. Call the CAP support team. You will have a safe, non-judgmental, private space to talk over what is going on for you.

FAQ 2. I cannot visit my loved one in prison. What can I do?

Care After Prison understands the impact of imprisonment on families and of the dynamics and challenges of parenting and maintaining a family relationship during imprisonment. This is particularly challenging during Covid-19 with the visits to prison stopped but the Irish Prison Service has set up video link facilities for families. Children missing their parent in prison may want to draw a picture and share it using the family video link or the parent could read a story to their kid(s) over the family video link.

FAQ 3. How can I get money to my loved one in prison during Covid-19?

There are now two ways you can transfer money into prison: by Bank transfer or by using An Post Bill Pay Cards. See below for details:


Phone CAP freephone on 1800 839 970 if you need support in sending money to your loved one in prison.

FAQ 4. I am worried about my income during Covid-19. What can I do?

Loss of work and income during these times is a source of huge anxiety for people.

Social Welfare

If you need information and/ or support filling out forms to get a social welfare payment, call us. We can take you through step by step what you need to do.

Fuel Allowance

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, on March 31st, 2020 the Government announced they would extend the Fuel Allowance season by four weeks. So, instead of finishing on Friday April 10th, 2020, it will run until Friday May 8th, 2020. The Fuel Allowance is currently paid at a rate of €24.50 per week and now this year will run for 32 weeks.

FAQ 5. I feel very isolated at the moment. Who can I turn to for support?

Covid-19 has brought about many challenges. As we stay at home to help protect one another, we in turn stop seeing many friends and family. If you feel isolated, while we know this is a normal response, it can still feel overwhelming. Try to reach out  to friends and family over phone and video links such as WhatsApp, Google Hangouts and Zoom. You can call CAP for a chat and support and here are some other agencies that you might want to contact:

  • Saint Vincent de Paul may be able to help people short of money with food and other essentials.
    Dublin details below (other locations on their website):
    SVP , 91-92, Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1
    Tel: 01 855 00 22
    Website: http://www.svp.ie 
    Email: info.east@svp.ie
    Open Mon- Fri : 9am to 5.30pm
  • Al Anon (www.alanon.ie) provides help and support to the families and friends of someone who is a problem drinker. This office is closed due to government restrictions at the moment but there is a helpline open every day (365 a year) from 10am to 10pm. Tel: 01 873 26 99.
  • Family Support Network is an autonomous self-help organisation that respects the lived experiences of families affected by substance misuse in a welcoming non-judgmental atmosphere. Phone: 01 898 01 48 Email: info@fsn.ie Web: fsn.i
  • Barnardos has launched a national telephone support service for parents in response to the challenges they are facing during the Covid-19 pandemic:
  • ALONE is a national organisation that supports older people and you can call their helpline on 0818 222 024

FAQ 6, I am experiencing abuse from someone I am living with and I feel trapped in my home. What can I do?

Covid-19 has left many people in domestic violent situations feeling trapped at home and in a desperate situation. If you live with someone who is hurting you and feel you cannot leave your home because of Covid-19, An Garda
Síochána has increased resources and the Minister for Justice has made it clear that people fleeing from domestic abuse can breach the 2km confinement rule without punishment. If you feel unsafe, you can you reach out to friends and family and stay with them and/ or call one of the helplines below and/ or call us here in CAP. Remember that while courts are operating at a reduced capacity throughout Covid-19, they are continuing to sit for emergency cases. This includes situations involving domestic abuse cases.

Call Women’s Aid 24hr National Freephone Helpline: 1800 341 900 or go onto their website www.womensaid.ie.

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