Doncaster extends its pioneering support for women to cut the number of children taken into care

A pioneering programme which supports women who have experienced or are at risk of repeat removals of children from their care is hoping to help more women after funding has been secured to extend the scheme.

The current Pause programme was due to end in June but thanks to the funding from Doncaster Council it will now be mainstreamed to help support more women.

The 18-month Pause programme aims to break the cycle of children being removed by offering women the chance to develop new skills and responses that will help them make the changes that are important to them in creating a positive future. Pause Practitioners work on an outreach basis working with women in their homes and communities to build a trusting relationship which helps them build confidence and start to identify the areas they want to change in their lives.

Paula Jackson-Key, the Pause programme lead in Doncaster, said: “For many of the women we support the process of having a child removed from their care is deeply traumatic and they feel guilty and ashamed as a result. We know from working with the women that they’ve often experienced ongoing trauma such as childhood trauma, being in care, domestic abuse, mental health issues and drug and alcohol issues, which has impacted on their abilities to cope with day to day life.

“Pause is different from many other programmes, looking at all aspects of the lives of each woman. Each woman is supported on a one-to-one basis with the therapeutic, practical and emotional support that helps empower them to make lasting changes in their lives. We’ve already seen the programme make a significant impact on the lives of the women, so we are thrilled to be able to support more women.”

Debbie* who has been supported by Doncaster Pause since June 2018 said: “Before Pause was introduced to me I was feeling isolated, alone, in debt, frightened, struggling with my alcohol addiction and experiencing really bad family relationships after losing the fight for my beautiful children in court. My first meeting with my Pause Practitioner made me feel at ease and never in a million years would I have thought that things would come together so quickly. She has helped me sort my debt problems, find a new home, helped to rebuild my family relations; all these combined gave me the strength to start battling my addiction, and it has now been over five months since I last had a drink.

“I never felt judged. Everyone is different, and everyone has struggles in life and for someone to come into your life after such a big loss means everything.”

Speaking about the announcement, Paul Moffat, Chief Executive of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, said: “The Pause model is a fantastic way to support women who have had children removed from their care. In many cases, these women need support to make positive changes in their lives. We’ve learnt from previous Pause communities that the women we support often lead chaotic lives and don’t understand the processes which lead to their children being removed.

“Removing a child, while sometimes necessary to ensure their safety and wellbeing, is always the last resort. Pause gives women an opportunity to reflect on all aspects of their lives that need to change and crucially gives them the support they need to make these changes. We are thrilled that thanks to the support of Doncaster Council, this programme will be able to continue to support more women.”

*Debbie is not her real name.


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