On Tuesday 14 June, 5 women who have been supported by Pause made a trip to Number 10 Downing Street to hand in their open letter calling for changes to letterbox contact to the Prime Minister. The open letter was written by members of the Pause Advisory group – a group of twelve women who have worked with Pause and have experienced the removal of children from our care – and was supported by over 400 signatories. The letter is calling for a letterbox system that enables the building of long-lasting, meaningful relationships, and echoes Pause’s recommendations for change, as outlined in our recent Time to Deliver report.
To support our campaign message, women from across the country who are working with Pause created origami envelopes with individual messages and designs. Pause practices used this craft activity as a way to bring women together to spark conversation about letterbox contact and ways in which the system could be better. These origami hearts were used to create our #TimeToDeliver banner, which we took with us to Downing Street to show the collective call to action from women working with Pause.
After handing in our open letter to No 10 Downing Street, we ended the day in Parliament Square, where we took photos and reflected on the day. One woman said:
“It felt really empowering. It’s really good to see all the women together to support each other to make change – that’s what we’re aiming for, it’s so exciting. We need better guidelines towards our letterbox contact; let’s make it better not just for birth mums but for adopted children too”.
Time to Deliver is our first influencing campaign at Pause and we are so proud of the immense support we have received and the chance to amplify families’ experiences of letterbox contact.
Since the launch of our Time to Deliver report, we have been campaigning for a letterbox contact system that prioritises relationship-building over administrative processes. We are thrilled to see that this is being recognised. The recent publication of England’s Independent Review of Children Social Care acknowledged the importance of trauma-informed support for birth parents, recognised the importance of family time arrangements and recommended that contact between birth parents, adopted children and adoptive parents should be assumed by default and modernised. This is a positive step toward ensuring letterbox contact aids life-long relationship-building between birth parent, children and adoptive parents. We will continue our influencing work, to ensure that support for women working with Pause does not slip off form the government’s agenda and we will reiterate our call for a letterbox contact system that delivers.