Pause Southwark has been launched as part of the national Pause programme, working with women who have experienced or are at risk of repeat removals of children from their care.
Southwark is one of seven areas across the country selected to pilot Pause, funded through the Department for Education’s Innovation Fund.
Southwark Council identified local women who had had multiple children taken into care – and made contact with the mothers about the new, supportive programme.
The council says that a total of 11 women signed up within the first few weeks and the pilot was launched at the end of October.
Pause aims to break the destructive, often trans-generational cycle of repeat removals of children from families – and also gives women the opportunity to develop new skills and responses that can help them create a more positive future.
Pause is an integrated model that works systemically with the women, their personal and professional world, and is an intense programme providing therapeutic, practical and behavioural support, enabling the women to take a “pause” in their lives from the usual periods of chaos and trauma – creating a space to reflect, learn and aspire.
The Minister for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, has hailed Pause as “a much needed breakthrough” to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable women in society.
At the National Pause Launch in June 2015, he said:
“Every individual deserves their own autonomous and aspirational life – which is what Pause gives women: the space to achieve.”
Southwark Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, Councillor Victoria Mills, said:
“Pause is an innovative new service that we believe will offer intense and specialist support to local women with complex needs, who have not been able to care for their children.
“While every local authority has such vulnerable women, Southwark is pleased to be one of seven councils chosen to test out this new approach.
“I hope it will make a real difference to vulnerable women and create the time and space to help them break the cycle.”
Other Pause pilots are taking place in Islington, Greenwich and Hackney in London and Doncaster in Yorkshire.
In June, Mr Timpson said that the Pause service was projected to save more than £14m over five years by preventing children being removed from their families.
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