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Intensive programme helps keep babies out of care

A pioneering programme that gives intensive support to parents who have had children taken into care is helping keep families together.

Staffordshire County Council’s Breathing Space programme works with women who are pregnant again by giving them and their partners practical and emotional support to enable babies to stay safely in their parents care.

After going live in January 2016, a total of 24 families have been accepted onto the project for intensive support.

These families receive parenting programmes which look at attachment and child development before birth, and are given a practical parenting programme where needed.

They also receive support from other agencies, which could include health, housing and mental health.

So far, 15 babies have been born since the project started, with 13 returning home following birth and staying there.

County Councillor Mark Sutton, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said:

“Every child born in Staffordshire has the right to a happy, safe and loving childhood and ideally this should be at home with their own family.

“With Breathing Space, we are working with those families who we believe would benefit from extra help and support, in order to break the cycle and prevent any subsequent children being taken into care.

“Of course we only do this so when it is absolutely safe to do so and is in the child’s interest, but so far we have had great success and we continue to work with these families and monitor children to make sure they continue to thrive in their home environment.”