Pause’s report Knowing They’re Ok, published July 2020, sets out a vision for a system of contact in which contact arrangements are positive experiences, for birth mothers and their children.
Women working with Pause tell us their relationships with their children are hugely important. Support to maintain these connections is consistently one of their top priorities. We know that contact arrangements and maintaining relationships with children are complex and emotive issues but our hope is that that this report can add to the current evidence base and make some positive recommendations for change in this area. The report findings included:
- 83% of women who took part have had their contact arrangements changed.
- 63% of these say they have not been given information on why contact arrangements with children have changed, often resulting in a breakdown in arrangements with detrimental results for the children, birth parents, adoptive families and carers.
- Better trauma-informed support leads to improved outcome
Contact arrangements are essentially about building and maintaining relationships between people and families. We believe that contact should be viewed as a relational process, rather than an administrative one. Pause report, Knowing They’re OK, sets out the following recommendations for change:
Maintaining relationships with their family can be vital to the wellbeing of children who are no longer in their birth parents’ care, and is important to the wellbeing and outcomes of their birth mothers. Looking at contact arrangements as processes for family relationships and emotional connections to develop and grow, rather than an administrative process, is crucial to the success of maintaining contact. The system of contact as it stands is not working and must do more to support those who need it.
If you have any questions, queries or would like more information please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The name for this project – Relationships with children – was also suggested and chosen by women – thank you to those who were in those discussions as part of Pause’s Getting Involved work. Thank you to everyone who was part of the Advisory Group and all the Pause Practices and People across the UK who contributed – we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you to Kate Fitch for conducting the literature review. Thanks to Dr Karen Treisman, Nicky Hawkins from FrameWorks Institute and Become for their input and feedback.