Pause Bristol

Pause: creating space for change

Intensive programme for mothers, preventing repeat child-removal

We might meet her in a car park or go searching. When we find her, there’s no agenda but hers. She can come to a meeting in floods of tears so we talk about that, not what we might have planned. Often it’s the first time anything’s been just for her. Pause puts a woman in control of the service and helps her learn to take control of her life.

It’s no taboo she’s had children removed. She can own her motherhood – so we celebrate Mother’s Day. We’re her companion, we’ve got her back, she can trust us. We’ll go to appointments, to the cinema, to the doctor, to groups. Or send a text: “How are you?”

"It’s like I’m new to this world, like I’m finding myself again and thanks to this programme I realise I can still have a life even if I have lost my children."

- Yvette
Pause works intensively for 18 months with groups of 20 women. Some from the first cohort (2017) are now peer volunteers!

Pause Bristol works with women who have had two or more children removed from their care

The programme works with 20 women at a time, using an innovative and proven model of care, which supports women to break the devastating cycle of having their children removed.

The issues affecting women who use Pause Bristol are complex: domestic and/or sexual violence; childhood trauma; learning difficulties; being care leavers themselves; mental health issues; addiction; and/or having a history of offending.

Pause Bristol’s report found that, between 2012 and 2017, there were at least 127 women in Bristol who had had a combined total of 414 children removed from their care.

The multi-agency scoping report on which the programme’s launch in June 2017 was based, found that Pause Bristol could save the taxpayer more than £140,000 over 18 months. Between 2010 and 2015, 88 women had a collective total of 301 children removed from their care (an average of at least three each). This cost figure is conservative; it does not include saved costs to the NHS, public health, housing, adult social care or other agencies. Pause Bristol is hosted by One25 in collaboration with Bristol City Council.

After a successful 18-month pilot, the programme is now in its third 18-month phase. Pause Bristol won’t meet all of the city’s need but it will give 20 women the opportunity to take a pause from the usual periods of chaos, anger and reaction to care proceedings and will create space for them to reflect, learn and aspire. Positive outcomes will look different for each woman on the programme but, rather than defining a woman in relation to any one issue, it will help each to focus on themselves and develop new skills and responses to build a more positive future.

Contact Pause Bristol

0117 440 6788

For more information, see Pause Bristol FAQs

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Website: Atomic Smash