Every local authority in the UK has women with complex and challenging needs to whom multiple children are born and subsequently taken into care. Evidence suggests that as many as 29% of all care applications involve a woman who has already had a child taken into care. These women are typically vulnerable and live with intersecting and numerous social, environmental, emotional and health related challenges.
Pause offers an 18-month, individually-tailored, intensive package of support, delivered by a dedicated practitioner, which addresses a broad range of emotional, psychological, practical, and behavioural needs.
In addition to providing support from a Practitioner, Pause works in collaboration with partner agencies (such as health and domestic violence services), at operational and strategic levels, to improve the broader service response to Pause women. As part of the programme, women agree to use an effective form of reversible contraceptive for the 18-month duration of the programme.
Piloted in seven areas initially, Pause was awarded additional funds in November 2016 to scale to a further nine areas and to include interventions with care leavers. In January 2020 there were 25 Pause practices across the UK.
The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 of the seven pilot sites found that the innovation was effective in reducing the number of pregnancies experienced by women during their 18-month interventions. The projected reductions in child removals, as well as demand on wider social services, was estimated to result in savings between £1.2-2.1m per year. In addition, women’s access to, and engagement with, services, including GPs, housing, and substance abuse services, increased over time.