Evaluation of Pause

Abstract

This evaluation report describes an evaluation of ‘Pause’, a voluntary programme for women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care. The project aimed to reduce the number of children being removed into care and improve the health and wellbeing of the women in the programme.

Project

Pause is a voluntary programme for women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care. It aims to reduce the number of children being removed into care by working with women who have had children removed to improve their wellbeing, resilience, and stability. Pause offers women an 18-month, individually-tailored, intensive package of support, delivered by a dedicated Practitioner, which is intended to address a broad range of emotional, psychological, practical, and behavioural needs.

As a condition of beginning this voluntary programme, women agree to use an effective form of reversible contraceptive for the 18-month duration of the programme. This is intended to allow women the opportunity to reflect and focus on their own needs. In addition to providing support, 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.

Pause began in Hackney in 2013, and received funding from the Department for Education Innovation Programme in 2015 to expand the pilot within Hackney, and to Doncaster, Greenwich, Hull, Islington, Newham, and Southwark. While most pilot Practices worked only with women who had had at least 2 children removed from their care, one Practice worked only with women who had had one child removed, and another – the first Pause Practice – worked with multiple (‘one child removed' and ‘2 or more children removed') cohorts.

Evaluation

This evaluation report assesses the impact of programme delivery, as well as the processes through which impact was achieved, for 125 women engaging with Pause at these 7 pilot Practices. It also offers an assessment of the fiscal costs and benefits of delivering the programme. The evaluation period ran from March 2015 to September 2016. It should be noted that, due to the timing of the evaluation period, at the first Pause Practice only the ‘1 child removed' cohort took part in the evaluation. In total, the evaluation cohort included 95 women who had had 2 or more children removed at 5 Practices, and 30 women who had had one child removed at 2 Practices. The central evaluation questions were:

  • to what extent is the Pause model effective in reducing the numbers of children removed from women’s care?
  • to what extent does engagement with the Pause programme have a positive impact on women’s wellbeing, resilience and stability?
  • how cost-effective is the Pause programme?
  • how do individual elements of the Pause programme relate to its impact?
  • what factors enable, or hinder, the achievement of Pause’s aims?

Publication
Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme Evaluation Report

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