Mums with kids in care could be asked to take measures to stop more pregnancies

Women whose children have been taken into care could be asked to take measures to prevent them having more kids under a new council scheme.

Pause Programme aims to use contraception , amongst other help, to break destructive cycles of behaviour.

Women could be asked to start using contraceptive implants under the new council scheme, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

Derbyshire County Council's proposal would affect women in Ilkeston and Long Eaton as well as other areas of the county.

The voluntary programme works with women who have experienced, or who are at risk of, repeated pregnancies.

It gives them the chance to "pause" and receive the emotional, psychological, practical and behavioural support they need to take control of their lives.

It  would include support for women at risk with training and employment opportunities, fitness and other activities, counselling and support with drug and alcohol misuse.

As a requirement of taking part, women agree to take an effective, long-acting, reversible form of contraception under the careful monitoring of sexual health services to allow them to focus on their own needs.

A woman at risk of child care proceedings may be asked to take part by any organisation she is already being supported by including her GP or social worker.

The move comes after some women have had up to seven or eight children taken off them.

According to Derbyshire County Council the most common reasons for women having children taken away are alcohol and substance abuse, domestic abuse, street sex work and mental health issues.

Other reasons include criminal proceedings and learning disabilities.

In Derbyshire, 80 women had 262 children under the age of five taken into care during the five years up to March 2018.

The highest number of children removed into care from one mother was eight. One had seven and six had six taken away.

In the past 10 years (2008-2018), 506 women have had children taken into care. Of these, 306 had one child taken off them.

The average cost for each child removed into care at birth in Derbyshire is £56,000 which includes initial fostering placement and adoption costs but not long-term ongoing costs.

The council's cabinet is going to consider offering the programme to women in the county at a meeting on Thursday after it has proven to work well in other authorities.

It said the scheme is targeted at "helping to prevent the damaging and traumatic consequences for mother and child when children are taken into care".

If approved, it would support 48 women over a four-year period.

Councillor Alex Dale, Derbyshire County Council's cabinet member for young people, said: “Children can be taken into care for any number of complex reasons but the consequences are always devastating and traumatic for them, their mothers and their families.

“This programme offers women intensive tailor-made support while working in small groups with skilled specialists to allow them to focus on their own needs – often for the first time in their lives.

“It also works in partnership with the NHS, housing, social work, the justice system and other agencies and is pioneering in the way it works not only with women at risk, but with their wider family and friends network too to ensure they feel as supported as possible through difficult times.

“We’ve seen the Pause Programme work well in a number of other authorities and, if approved by cabinet, would also help the council reduce significant and ongoing budget pressures associated with children in care in line with our commitment to look at doing things differently to make the best use of our resources.”

If approved by cabinet, the Pause Programme would help the council avoid an estimated £572,000 in care proceedings costs by supporting 48 women over a four-year period.

It would avoid taking 25 children into care.

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