Both research and practical experience show that ex-prisoners face many challenges while trying to return to everyday life routines. These challenges include damaged or severed family and social ties, low levels of education, reduced opportunities for entering the labour market, and general negative attitudes towards former prisoners. This type of attitude towards parent(s) who are former prisoners can additionally burden family relationships while growing up and hinder the development of children, who in turn can be labelled, socially excluded and discriminated against.

The project “Involved communities” was implemented in four cities in order to empower these communities, i.e. members of these communities (representing civil society, education and social work institutions, judiciary and others) to provide a higher quality inclusion of parents from vulnerable groups (especially parents-former prisoners, low income and marginalised) as well as members of their families into the community.

The Open Academy Step by Step, as a partner in the project, contributed to these goals through the implementation of a training course for social justice and improvement of intersectoral cooperation for the above mentioned community members. Additional activities were carried out in order to increase skills in the field of work with vulnerable groups (training in social skills, public advocacy, counselling, etc.). In addition to strengthening the capacity of community members, a publication and video material were created to contribute to sensitizing the professional and general public about the importance of including vulnerable groups in society and creating equal opportunities for every child.