Bid to cut number of children removed from mums by Doncaster social services

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A programme of support for women who have experienced or are at risk of repeat removals of their children from their care gets underway in Doncaster as part of a national launch announced today.

Doncaster is one of seven areas selected to pioneer Pause. It aims to break the cycle of children being removed from their mothers and offer those women the chance to develop new skills and responses that will help them create a more positive future.

Led locally by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, the Doncaster Pause team appointed last month is working in partnership with experts from the voluntary and health sectors. Together they will provide tailored support to women who have already had children taken into care and who continue to face complex challenges.

Pause is innovative, dynamic and creative. It offers an intense programme of therapeutic, practical and behavioural support for each woman, providing a bespoke approach designed around their needs.

The Doncaster Pause has identified 44 women as potential participants – who have had a total of 138 children removed into care. Direct contact with women in Doncaster began last month, with three women signed up to the programme within the first few days and more women in discussions with the team.

Doncaster Children’s Services Trust is the first children’s social care organisation in the country to be run independently from a local authority. It was set up last year following an agreement with the government and Doncaster Council and its remit is to pioneer new, dynamic ways to provide outstanding care to local children and families.

Doncaster Children’s Services Trust Head of Assessment and Child Protection Ros Cheetham is leading the local Pause programme.

“We’re delighted that Doncaster has been chosen as one of just seven other areas able to offer this specialised support, and help the women we work with build stronger, happier futures. They join the programme on a totally voluntary basis and it gives them a much-needed pause to be able to focus on themselves.”

To achieve the ‘pause’, the participating women volunteer to take LARC (long acting reversible contraception) during the intervention, thereby creating a space to reflect, learn and aspire.

Doncaster Pause is funded by £500,000 from the Department for Education’s Innovation Fund to pilot the programme until April 2016. Programmes are also running in Southwark, Newham, Greenwich, Hull, Islington and a wider roll out in Hackney.