A national charity which aims to support women and reduce the number of children taken into care is celebrating its successes in St Helens so far, at the end of an 18 month pilot.
Pause St Helens, a joint venture between the national charity Pause and St Helens Council, was the first Pause practice to be launched in Merseyside. The programme works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care. Pause aims to break the cycle of repeat removal by intervening at a point when the women have no children in their care. The model draws upon various evidence-based approaches and trauma-informed practices.
Nine women have graduated from the programme at an event attended by Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillor Pat Ireland and Lynn Glover, Pause National Chief Executive Jules Hillier and local poet Lynn Gerrard, as it comes to the end of its successful pilot, which began in October 2017, while funding has been granted by St Helens Council for a further 18 months.
Another seven women are scheduled to graduate by the end of the year, whilst the Practice reaches out to more local women to offer them the service.
Post-Pause, the women will move into a “next steps” stage, which brings in the expertise of other local services to support the women into the future and provides less intensive, long-arm support from Pause.
Initially, Pause St Helens identified 56 women who were eligible for the programme, and took on a cohort of 21 women who between them had 71 children removed from their care.
Pause helps women to find the time to focus on themselves. To do this, they agree to take a pause from pregnancy by deciding to use an effective form of long-acting, reversible contraception during their 18 months on the programme, thereby creating a space to reflect, learn and aspire.
By taking a pause from pregnancy, and working intensively with women who have had repeat removals, the programme will help to contribute towards safely reducing the number of looked after children in the borough. None of the women on the programme have since become pregnant.
Women taking part in the programme report achieving a number of goals and outcomes, including improved health and wellbeing, confidence, self esteem, self worth, as well as improved relationships with their families, and better control of their lives.
The programme is supported by a number of local partners including St Helens Council, Merseyside Police, Torus Housing Group, the Clinical Commissioning Group, North West Boroughs Healthcare, St Helens Sexual Health Services, Probation Services, Chrysalis Centre for Change, Apex Trust and local drug and alcohol treatment service Change, Grow, Live (CGL).