Specialist support for Plymouth’s vulnerable women

Some of the city’s most vulnerable women look set to get more support to help them lead happier lives, thanks to a special project being set up.

Women whose children are repeatedly involved in care proceedings are to be offered tailored support to help them break this traumatic cycle, which is often caused by a complex picture of underlying factors.

Research published in 2014 highlighted that nationally 29 per cent of all care applications over seven years were linked to women who had already previously had at least one child removed into care. Plymouth’s position currently mirrors this national research, and a long term aim of the project is to reduce the numbers of children brought into care in the city.

Up to 48 women will be getting more support under the Pause scheme, for which the Council has secured an in-principle grant of £540k from the Life Chances Fund.

Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Sue McDonald, said: “This is about giving women who are living with really challenging difficulties a much needed helping hand. Many of them are locked in a destructive cycle, have experienced neglect in their own childhoods and are often in abusive relationships as adults.

“This programme is designed to take a very individual approach to the women involved and to offer tailored support, including practical and therapeutic support, help to develop more positive relationships, support for their physical and mental health needs as well as opportunities for education, training, volunteering or employment.”

The work is being partly funded through the Life Chances Fund, created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with the aim of helping people who face the most significant barriers to lead happy and productive lives.

A delegated decision by the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People gives approval to procure a service provider to implement the Pause programme so that women experiencing, or at risk of, recurring care proceedings will receive long term intensive support which has not previously been available to them through existing services, both locally and nationally.

Pause is a charity which developed and owns the license for the programme that aims to prevent the damaging consequences of thousands of children being taken into care each year, by working with women who have experienced – or are at risk of – repeated pregnancies that result in children needing to be removed from their care.

The service aims to give women an opportunity and support to ‘pause’ and take control over their lives, to improve their wellbeing, resilience and stability. This helps them set in place strong foundations to build a more positive future for themselves