Pause Progress Praised07/09/21
Considerable progress in the lives of Dundee women with multiple and complex needs has been achieved through the significant impact of the first local Pause programme, councillors heard at a meeting on Monday September 6.
A report to the children and families services committee outlined how participation in Pause has led to improvements in the women’s lives which include:
- Access to health services
- Relationships with their children
- Access to employment, education and training
- Positive engagement with substance use services
- Safety from domestic abuse
The committee approved a recommendation for funding to be continued by the children and families service of the council for the years 2021-22 and 2022-23. Pause operates in Dundee as a partnership between Tayside Council on Alcohol, Pause, Dundee City Council and The Robertson Trust.
The programme is part of a range of support for women who have faced challenges with a focus on those who have so far been unable to engage, or had limited engagement, with other services and are at risk of the further removal of children from their care.
Before the 22 women signed up to the full programme, they had 53 children removed from their care between them.
Pause Dundee places a strong emphasis on informed voluntary engagement in the programme in which women are supported to take a “pause” from pregnancy to help bring greater stability to their lives.
Depute children and families convener Councillor Roisin Smith said: “The local women who have chosen to become involved with Pause Dundee have all suffered from a range of problems and challenges including domestic abuse, mental health, substance use and homelessness.”
“This has simply created risks for them and their children and torn their relationships apart."
Councillor Smith continued: “We wanted to do something more for them and the intensive and innovative work of the local Pause partnership has provided a way ahead for these women and helped to give them better prospects.
“They deserve better life chances so they can move on to training and employment opportunities and make a contribution to society.”
Councillors were told that during an initial engagement period of up to 4 months, women are provided with general support to meet their personal needs, including to access other services. Where the woman considers this is sufficient for them, or if they do not wish to progress to the full programme, they are supported to continue to engage with these other services.
The report is accompanied by an impact report detailing the first phase of Pause Dundee, detailing the impact and also telling the story from the perspective of someone who has used the service.
Councillor Smith added “Voices of women who have gone through the Pause programme are inspiring and we are seeing some of them re-establishing relationships with their families. The Impact Report sets out in detail what a huge difference Pause has made for them to start to overcome trauma in their lives.
“I am keen that we can continue Pause Dundee as part of a range of services for vulnerable women. The tragic death of one of the participants shows that we cannot be complacent and demonstrates the real dangers that these women face.
“I would also like to thank the staff of Pause Dundee for continuing to deliver the programme and keep participants engaged in the face of the pandemic. Their efforts under unique challenges deserve to be recognised.”
Jules Hillier, Chief Executive of Pause, added: “We are so pleased with the positive outcomes the women have achieved with Pause Dundee, especially in the context of the pandemic and the additional challenges it has brought. We really hope to be able to continue our work in Dundee and to reach more women caught in traumatic cycles of repeated removals of children from their care”.
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