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Reflect Dudley

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A pilot project has been launched in Dudley to support women who have had multiple children taken into care.

The Reflect Dudley project, which is being delivered by Barnado’s in conjunction with Dudley Council will provide intensive support to women who have had one or more children taken permanently into care. It is funded by the council’s voluntary sector innovation fund.

By providing two dedicated and experienced support workers, the project aims to help women understand how their circumstances have resulted in a child being permanently taken from them, and how they can access the support they need to try to prevent this from happening again.

Unfortunately, for some women, the experience of having a child permanently removed from their care is a repeated one, and this is something the project particularly wishes to address. This project will aim to support women to break this cycle.

Women using the service will receive one to one support including contraceptive advice, assistance with housing, self-esteem and confidence building, education and employment information but most importantly the chance to talk about their experiences and receive advice about how they can change their future.

Councillor Sue Ridney, cabinet member for children’s services, said:

This is an ambitious, but essential project. We’ve found sadly, that often women who have children permanently removed from their care, go on to have subsequent children also taken into care. We need to break this destructive cycle, which is so damaging to both mothers and children.
The Reflect Dudley project which will be delivered by our experienced partners, Barnado’s will give those women the opportunity to understand their own history and to gain the strength and skills they need to challenge and change those circumstances for the better.

Emily Phelps, assistant director for children’s services for Barnardo’s Black Country Locality, said:

We are delighted to be given the opportunity to work with Dudley Council to pilot this scheme. Reflect will offer support at this very difficult time; we are here to help women understand their past and make the changes needed for their future.

The project will support women aged over the age of 18 who have had one or more children permanently removed from their care. Referrals will come from the children’s services team, and each case will be assessed individually and robustly to ensure that this is the right journey for the individual woman. Single women and care leavers will be a priority, but the project will also work with women in relationships where the need arises.

It will draw on the experience of a similar Barnado’s project currently being delivered in a range of local authorities across Wales and the North East.

Photo caption: Sue Butcher chief officer children’s services Dudley Council; Martin Samuels strategic director for people Dudley Council; Councillor Sue Ridney cabinet member for children’s services Dudley Council and Emily Phelps, assistant director children’s services for Barnardo’s Black Country locality

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