Pause Programme Proposed

Pause Programme Proposed Image

A new approach for Dundee to support vulnerable women who have had multiple children removed from their care could be introduced to the city.

The city council’s children and families service committee is being asked to establish the Pause Dundee programme, which aims to help these women to take a “pause from pregnancy”.

Figures show that in a five year period to October 2017, 113 women in the city had 341 children removed into care. Of these, 73% have had two or three children removed.

The women involved are said to have “many complex and often inter-linking needs” including mental health, domestic abuse, drug misuse and criminal justice issues.

It is estimated that delivery of Pause could prevent up to ten pregnancies and help reduce the costs of permanently removing these children into care - which could rise to nearly £1.7 million over a five year period.

Depute children and families service convener Councillor Roisin Smith said: “There are terrible human tragedies behind these statistics and I am keen that we can find new ways of working with these women to help improve their lives.

“The council also faces a significant financial cost to remove children into care.

“Pause Dundee would give us a chance to intervene in a way that can hopefully better help these vulnerable women. They face extremely difficult challenges in their lives and are the victims of some dreadful circumstances.

“I will be interested to hear how the pilot develops and learn about the impact that it is making. I want to see these women have better life chances, to escape the cycles of abuse or addiction that they face and move on to training and employment opportunities and make a contribution to society.” 

The committee will be told that the cost of a two year pilot would be £300,000 a year, with funding that could be provided by the Big Lottery, Scottish Government and the Robertson Trust.

Pause is a charity that already operates with local authorities across England and Northern Ireland and offers an intense and bespoke programme of therapeutic, practical and behavioural support for the individuals involved.

Following initial scoping work by the Scottish Government last year, Dundee was identified as having a substantial population who could benefit from the new service.

Services that would contribute include:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Substance misuse services
  • Justice responses including the proposed Women’s Custody Centre
  • Violence Against Women Services
  • The multi-agency New Beginnings Team
  • Family Nurse Partnership
  • Third sector organisations

A report to the children and families service committee on Monday January 28 concludes:“The introduction of Pause Dundee will provide a unique opportunity to take advantage of

external funding to provide an innovative and intensive service to some of Dundee’s most  vulnerable women. 

“This investment in preventative work aims to shift resources to meet needs and thereby prevent the need for higher costs elsewhere.”

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