Pause works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care, has been awarded the Big Lottery Fund grant which will allow it to expand its service to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the next three years.
Pause has grown from running a single pilot programme when it was founded in Hackney in 2013, to operating 17 practices across England by the end of 2017.
Pause practices currently operate in Barking and Dagenham, Bristol, Cumbria, Derby, Greenwich, Hackney, Hull, Islington, Newcastle, Newham, North East Lincolnshire, Slough, Southwark, West Sussex and Wiltshire, with two more practices set to open in Blackpool and St Helens by the end of the year.
According to statistics by Lancaster University, at least one in four women who has already had a child taken into care will have further children removed from them by a Family Court. The chances of having a baby removed increase to at least one in three for those mothers who were teenagers at the birth of their first child.
A feasibility study for the Pause programme found that in Hackney, 205 children had been taken into care from just 49 women. These women were typically young, disadvantaged and living with emotional, environmental and health-related challenges, from drug and alcohol abuse to homelessness.
The 17 Pause practices run 18-month programmes with the aim of encouraging women to tackle destructive patterns of behaviour by building self-confidence and resilience, and to help them develop new skills and responses to create a more positive future.
In November 2016 Pause also received £6.8m from the DfE's social care innovation programme, covering the four-year period until 2020.
Sophie Humphreys, (right), founding chair of Pause, said, ‘This is an exciting time for Pause, and a clear indication that our pace of progress shows no sign of slowing. We have already had positive discussions with potential partners in the nations, who have seen the impact Pause has had in areas across England.
‘Scoping work will begin in Dundee within weeks and we expect other towns, cities and regions, not only in Scotland, but in Wales and Northern Ireland too, to follow their lead soon.’
The National Lottery funding will also enable Pause to broaden its support for those women who have completed the initial 18-month programme.
This ‘Post Pause’ offer will ensure that the women, who may continue to face significant challenges, have access to ongoing support from Pause and its practitioners.
Ms Humphreys added, ‘I’m really proud that the Big Lottery Fund has recognised not only the positive impact of Pause’s work, but also the opportunities for expansion. This is a real credit to the staff working centrally and in the numerous Pause practices across the country. And it’s also a testament to all the women who have been through, or are currently on their own Pause programme. The way in which they have responded to Pause and embraced it, even through the most challenging of times, is the real measure of our success.’
Joe Ferns, UK funding director at the Big Lottery Fund, said, ‘This National Lottery funding will mean Pause can help more women across the UK. It will also enable women who have used the service to help others lead happier, healthier lives. This project is about growing a great idea and is key to what we are trying to achieve at the Big Lottery Fund. As the largest community funder in the UK, we are delighted to be supporting Pause’s vital work.’