The number of young people being taken into care is large and growing: as of 2021, there were 3,386 looked-after children (LAC) across Plymouth, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire, an increase in LACs of over 12% between 2018-2021.
In the past, there has been a lack of support for vulnerable women who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing removals of their children into care. Focusing on increasing these women’s well-being will reduce the risk of more children being taken into care.
Forward was created to coordinate and support the development and roll-out of a programme that works with experienced delivery partners to provide support to vulnerable women. An intense and trauma-informed programme helps these women to create a more positive future.
In Plymouth, Forward works with Trevi House, a women’s and children’s charity. In the Midlands (Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire), Forward works with Catch 22, a social business specialised in the justice, young people and families, employability and education sectors.
Women on the Forward programme are supported to focus on themselves, increasing their well-being and employability, and engaging with other services whilst taking a ‘pause’ from pregnancy. Additionally, Forward focuses on the women not becoming subject to the instigation of further care proceedings for the removal of a child. Forward has 4 practices (Plymouth, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire) and is planning to support 220 women.