An independent evaluation, commissioned by the Department for Education and carried out by the University of Sussex in partnership with Research in Practice and Ipsos Mori, published in November 2020, found that the Pause Programme is effective in making a positive difference in women’s lives, improving their relationships with children, reducing rates of infant care entry in local areas and delivering cost savings for local areas.
The evaluation, which interviewed 61 women, spoke to Pause Practices and local stakeholders and analysed Pause data, found that:
The evaluation also identified the key ingredients in the Pause Programme which make the difference. They include:
- A holistic, trauma-informed, relationships-based approach
- Skilled Practitioners from a range of professional backgrounds
- Small caseloads enabling Practitioners to spend time with each woman
- Flexible financial resource for each woman
- Staffing continuity
- Flexibility and autonomy for Pause Practices
In addition to these findings the evaluation made a number of recommendations:
- Long-term, intensive, trauma-informed relational work, delivered by skilled practitioners with small caseloads, is clearly effective in reducing rates of infant care entry for local authorities.
- Benefits for younger women, including care leavers pilot and those who only experienced removal of one child, indicate clear ethical and economic arguments for extending the model to all women who have a child removed into care
- Benefits to existing children can be hypothesised given consistent reports of improved relationships across diverse placement and permanency arrangements.
- Evidence of positive change in women’s lives within and beyond the intervention is relevant to recurrence services and other provision for vulnerable populations.
- Accessible support helps women deal with potentially destabilising challenges post-intervention, indicating the importance of investing in Pause Next Steps support
Thank you to all the women and Pause Practices that took part in the evaluation.