Help to stop Bexley children being taken into care - if mums agree to contraception
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 March 2019
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Some of Bexley's most vulnerable mums will be offered help to stop their children being taken into care if they agree to go on contraception.
National programme Pause is set to roll out in Bexley in April to break the cycle of mothers – the majority of whom have been abused or suffer from addiction – having children repeatedly taken away from them.
The scheme will help mums who have had two or more children removed – in Bexley it’s estimated that at least 26 mothers could qualify and be helped.
It comes following a stark revelation that five mums of a possible 94 who would fit the criteria died between 2015-18.
Jo Tanner, from Pause, told a children’s scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, March 19: “Once we went through the process we identified 26 women currently living in Bexley that between them had 82 children removed.
“That’s fairly typical of the authorities we work with, it does however mask some of the issues. The criteria is two children removed, some of those would have had many more removed – we’ve had upwards of nine removed from mums still in their 30s.
“There’s something missing in the system that these women are having child after child removed with little intervention.”
Pause offers mums help over an 18-month period, supporting them into stability through housing and education – while asking the women to go on contraception during that time.
The scheme has been rolled out at more than 20 other councils since it was set up in 2013, saving local authorities money in the long run by bringing down the costs of children going into care.
Pause says 85per cent of the mums in Bexley have been domestically abused – a figure that in reality is probably 100.
“In Bexley nearly half of mums have issues with drugs and over a third have issues with alcohol. There are mental health issues and over a quarter have a history with the criminal justice system,” Ms Tanner said.
“These are the issues we will look at with the women – we work by asking the women, possibly for the first time in their lives, what it is they want.”
Cabinet member for children, Cllr Philip Read, added: “I welcome Pause coming to Bexley. I think it is important to break this cycle, and where we have ladies willing to work for us it will be good with them and for the children.
“It provides a financial saving but what’s as important as that is the emotional saving for the women and for the children who would perhaps be born and have to go into care.”