COURTS should be required by law to ensure care arrangements are in place for children of prisoners, a charity has said.
Barnardo's has called for children of prisoners to be identified when their parent is sentenced or remanded in custody.
The charity also wants the Ministry of Justice to appoint a lead minister to have responsibility for children of prisoners.
There are around 200,000 children of prisoners, Barnado's said, which is three times as many children in care. Around two-thirds of children of prisoners go on to offend.
Barnardo's new chief executive Javed Khan said: "We need to identify these children so that we can provide long-term support and break the intergenerational offending that currently sees 65% of boys with a father in prison go on to offend.
"Courts must have a statutory duty to ask whether individuals remanded or sentenced to prison in England and Wales have children.
"We will only achieve fundamental change if there is someone within the Government to champion the cause for these children, so we are asking the Justice Secretary to appoint a lead minister for this group."