Welcome to a 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 initiative of an NGO called Children of Prisoners Europe. The concept has been pioneered and developed with great success by COPE’s Italian member, BambiniSenzaSbarre.

We realised that many other COPE members, affiliates and partners had been organising similar events on smaller, local scale. Thus came the idea of connecting these local and national initiatives on a European scale.

“It was short but beautiful. Dad and I haven’t had fun together for 2 years. Being with him makes me happy. I thank you.”

— 8-year-old, Italy

More than 2 million children in Europe must cope with the absence of a loved and trusted parent. We aim to support the all-important child-parent bond by bringing them together for a day of play, hugs, and laughs — all over Europe.

All children have the right to entertain regular, meaningful contact with their parent. All children have the right to play. There can be no human rights without child rights in the first place.

At COPE, we believe that the rights and best interests of these children deserve much greater attention from decision-makers and society at large. By involving children in an event such as a Game with Mum & Dad, we wish to make them into agents of a necessary change toward a fairer and more inclusive European society.

The initiative is part of COPE’s annual awareness-raising campaign, “Not my crime, still my sentence” which is in its 11th year.

We’re starting with the first ever European Game with Mum and Dad in the summer of 2023. More will follow. Watch this space!

Who we are

Children of Prisoners Europe defends the rights and needs of children when a parent goes to prison. We’re an international network connecting 124 members and affiliates across 37 countries in Europe and beyond. COPE was a driving force behind the 2018 Council of Europe’s Recommendation on children with imprisoned parents and continues to advocate for better laws and policies.

BambiniSenzaSbarre is an Italian association providing psycho-pedagogical support to imprisoned parents and children affected by the experience of imprisonment of one or both parents. It initiated the first Charter of the Rights of Children of Prisoners in Europe, signed in 2014 together with Italy’s justice minister and national child protection agency.

Participating in the 2023 edition of a Game with Mum & Dad are:

Logo of Chrildren of prisoners europe
Logo of Bambinisenzasbarre

Join us, support us

Game with Mum and Dad is a powerful tool for advocacy on behalf of a large and vulnerable category of children.

Game with Mum and Dad allows children to participate in changing for the better the reality and consequences of prison detention.

Read more

©BambiniSenzaSbarre – 8 years

Kids’ corner

Hi there.

Have you participated in one of our Games with Mum and Dad? We’d love to hear from you. 

We’re sure other children in Europe would like to hear from you, too.

Send us a few words or a drawing and tell us about your experience. Did you like it? How did you feel about the game?

Don’t worry, we wont publish your name. And if you ever change your mind, just let us know and we will delete your words or drawing.


With thanks to

Logo of European Union
Logo of Connecting hearts
Logo of Generalitat de Catalunya