started in Hackney 14 months ago as a project separate from the local authority – although it was set up by Sophie Humphreys, former head of safeguarding at Hackney. It is different in the way that they engage with mothers on a bespoke, one-to-one basis. Project workers will go to visit the women, as opposed to requiring them to attend sessions. They’re given a tailor-made programme designed to help them with their problems. What’s most important is that the women are made to feel like an individual as opposed to just an adjunct to controlling, abusive others – often for the first time in their lives.
The initial project took 49 women who’d had at least one child removed. Over two-thirds of these women had more than four children taken in to care. One woman said 'she felt like a baby-making machine for social services' said Sophie Humphreys. The most important element of Pause
is that women are required to commit to the use of a long-acting, reversible contraception, such as an injection, hormone implant or coil.
The project has been spectacularly successful – not one of the women has had a baby so far. Without the support of Pause
, it’s estimated that over five years the women would have 40 children who would be removed, which would have cost the council £1.5m alone, let alone all the other costs to society.
However, it is not just about preventing pregnancy: by working with the women, the Pause
workers hope that they will turn their lives around. Although it’s early days in the project, it is hoped that by breaking the cycles of abuse, crime and addiction that beset these women, perhaps one day they will be able to have a child who is not removed.
Edward Timpson said, 'It’s exactly this sort of radical, disruptive thinking which the Social Care Innovation Fund wants to fund'. It means that new Pause
projects will be replicated in Doncaster, Newham, Southwark and Hull, as well as paying for a national programme director and an expansion of the project in Hackney.
This news item originally appeared on the Carter Brown website and has been reproduced here with permission of the copyright holder. Carter Brown sponsored the Chambers of the Year category at the Family Law Awards 2014.