The need for Pause
There are a number of families that have more than one child removed from their care. This is a significant issue across the UK – almost half of all infants who are taken into care have a sibling who is already in the care system.
Once a child has been removed, children’s services is structured so that support follows the child. This leaves the birth mother struggling to cope with existing difficulties, while facing the additional trauma of losing a child. This contributes to a worsening outlook for both the women and their children.
Pause was founded in 2013, by two colleagues in the London Borough of Hackney: Sophie Humphreys OBE and Georgina Perry. Sophie was leading the child protection service at Homerton University Hospital and Georgina was a senior NHS manager, working with some of the most vulnerable women in Hackney.
In 2011, Sophie and Georgina carried out an in-depth feasibility study, to identify the prevalence of the issue of ‘repeat removals’ in Hackney. Their ground-breaking research led to the establishment of the first Pause pilot in Hackney in 2013.
The pilot was successful in achieving positive outcomes for women, and further Pause Practices were set up across the UK as a result. The Pause network is now the biggest network of UK professionals working specifically with women who have had children removed from their care.
Since stepping down as Chair in 2019, Sophie continues to act as an ambassador for Pause, while Georgina supports our work inducting new Pause Practices.