Pause Bristol launched in June 2017 to work with women in the city 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. After a successful 18-month pilot, the programme has been funded for a further 18-months.
Pause Bristol’s most recent internal 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. One25 CEO Anna Smith says:
"Having run a similar project in London, I am really pleased to see Pause come to Bristol to support women with the trauma of having children removed, to move on as people and as parents. We have worked hard to ensure that we recruited the right staff and will begin to work with the women who need the service most."-
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. Councillor Helen Godwin, Cabinet Member for Children in Bristol and a member of the Pause Board says:
"I am really proud that Bristol Council has enabled and funded Pause Bristol. This project will turn around a number of women’s lives."-
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.
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