A team of skilled practitioners will be working across Dorset from January 2023 to support women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care.

South West-based charitable housing association BCHA has been successful in its application to roll out the county’s first *Pause Practice.

Pause is a national charity which assists women who have had children repeatedly removed from their care to engage in an 18-month programme of support.  

Pause helps women to pause and take control of their lives, putting in place strong foundations on which they can build a more positive future for themselves. Pause aims to break transgenerational cycles and support vulnerable women to develop a sense of self-worth with significant improvements to substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health, as well as improving contact with children and gaining access to services.

BCHA are thrilled to be delivering Pause Dorset to support vulnerable mothers rebuild their lives
BCHA are thrilled to be delivering Pause Dorset to support vulnerable mothers rebuild their lives

Rachel Young, the Practice Lead for Pause Dorset said: “Pause is about giving women the skills and support they need to have control over their lives and choices. A trauma informed approach is central to our work which is shaped by the priorities identified by the women themselves. No two interventions look the same, as each woman is different.”

Rachel continued: “There is a huge stigma attached to women who have had children repeatedly removed from their care.

“What is not well known is that many of these women have grown up with trauma, and have been impacted by homelessness, mental health issues and domestic abuse, and have often been repeatedly let down by services. 

“As soon as they are in a position whereby their child is removed, services take a step back and there is nothing there to help them - They are completely de-valued and without addressing the underlying trauma, the woman is likely to experience repeat removals.

“We seek to address this through the person-centred plan developed for each woman. 

“Pause encourages them to take a pause from pregnancy for 18 months, then picks them up, wraps services around them and enables them to gain the support they need to recover from the trauma of abuse, addiction and other behaviours which may have them trapped in that vicious circle.

“From there they can access education and training, as well as securing and sustaining housing tenancies.”

Pause Dorset aims to support 24 women in its first 18 months.

Rachel continued: “I am extremely excited to be taking Pause out into Dorset, as the programme is proven to have significant outcomes for the women with whom it engages.

“Those outcomes also have an impact on the number on children going into care and also on the cost to local authorities who care for those children.”

Since 2013, Pause Practices across the country have reached around 3,250 women, who have had over 8,200 children removed from their care. The Department for Education estimates that for every pound spent on Pause, £1.38 is saved by children’s services departments alone. 

Pause Dorset is being inducted during the week beginning 16 January and will then be out in the community.

“The women we approach may be wary of working with us so, initially we will be working hard to build trusting and supportive relationships. But through our expertise and commitment and the Pause model we hope to make a real difference to women and children’s lives.” 

Toby Mallowan, Head of Homelessness, Health & Wellbeing at BCHA said: “We are committed to supporting communities across Dorset and this project helps us focus on mothers who have experienced, and are living with, trauma. Pause will give us an opportunity to provide the skilled support for these women to have space and improve wellbeing, resilience and stability and take control of their lives again.  This in turn will reduce the number of children being taken into care and having a more stable and positive start in life.”

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