Contraceptive scheme to help vulnerable women expanded

A programme which aims to reduce the number of children taken into care by ensuring vulnerable women are offered contraception is to be extended by the government.

The Pause programme works with women at risk of repeated pregnancies and offers them support while asking them to use a form of contraception such as an implant or coil.

The Department of Education is providing £6.8m in funding to support the project.

The number of babies taken into care has doubled over 20 years. Credit: PA

Launched in north London in 2013, the project currently runs centres in Doncaster, Greenwich, Hull, Islington, Newham and Southwark.

New practices are now planned to be launched in areas including Barking and Dagenham, Bristol and Cumbria.

Sophie Humphreys, chief executive of Pause, told BBC Radio 5 live the project gave women "a really clear space which doesn't get sabotaged by another pregnancy".

She said: "This is pause, not stop. It's about breaking a destructive cycle that causes deep trauma for both the women and their children."

Government figures by the Justice For Families campaign group show the number of babies being taken into care had risen from 1,180 in 1995 to 2,740 in 2015.

Lesley Redpath, a Pause caseworker said very few women were deterred by the contraceptive stipulation.

She said: "I'm talking about women who don't know how to get up and have a wash because they've never been shown how to look after themselves.

"They've never been shown how to cut their own toenails. I'm talking about very basic self-care. And these are people who've had children.

"The women that we've worked with have slipped through all the netting."