Action for Change and the EU partnership
Action for Change was part of an EU funded project between January 2015 – December 2016 which sought to advance knowledge and understanding of service models that effectively address the needs of women who have had, or are at risk of having, their children removed from their care because of domestic abuse and/or associated factors such as substance misuse and mental health. The programme ran across four countries in Europe: Italy, Romania, Hungary and the United Kingdom.
A common feature among all the models that were piloted was the interlinking of support services to address the often multiple and complex needs of (predominantly) women exposed to domestic abuse. Through delivery of multifaceted support which directly addressed the underlying needs and risk factors associated with having a child removed into care, the pilots broke often-entrenched behaviour that drove the removal of a child into protective care. It is believed that failing to assertively break such behaviours perpetuates, and possibly even amplifies, the cycle of risk-associated behaviour, significantly increasing the likelihood of having a subsequent child placed into care. As well as the tragic consequences for both the parent and child(ren), there are major economic and social consequences for both local communities and nation states. The Action for Change project has been robustly evaluated at both the local and transnational level to produce an evaluation report.
As part of the pilot, a Women’s Shadow Board was set up by partners, comprising at least two women in each country, to empower women to assert their rights by being involved in steering and delivering the project to make statutory services more responsive to their needs. Some of the Women’s Shadow Board activity can be seen in the newsletters below.