'A lot of kids are embarrassed': Girl, 12, advocating for youngsters who have dads in prison

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Madison Strempek's just 12-years-old, but the published author is hoping to have a big impact on our shores.

Madison Strempek, whose father was in jail, says the offspring of inmates shouldn't be stigmatised.
Source: 1 NEWS

The American keynote speaker, at the International Coalition for the Children of Incarcerated Parents conference in Rotorua, has grown up with a father in prison.

But she has a message for the 23,000 kiwi kids living in the same position.

"I chose to share my story because I knew I wasn’t alone, there were other kids in the world going through the same thing."

"A lot of kids are embarrassed… so maybe I should help."

She's written a book, Everyone Makes Mistakes: Living With My Daddy in Jail.

The conference hopes to remove the stigma around the children of incarcerated parents.

"In fact they are labelled the invisible children, because you just see the child you don't see what they are actually dealing with and coping with," Pillars chief executive Verna McFelin told 1 NEWS.

"They carry the stigma of the crime they didn't commit. So they are often called jailbirds, bullied, all sorts of issue."

Last year, Madison wrote to then president Barack Obama, asking him to help her incarcerated father get a job.

Obama wrote back.

"He said that he was working on stuff to help convicted felons to re-enter into the community and I thought 'that's good'," Madison said.

"I kind of felt important."

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