Walking Alongside You (WAY)

Walking Alongside You (WAY) programme

The Walking Alongside You (WAY) programme is for women who have had one or more children removed from their care and are at risk of having further children removed.  The project aims to break this cycle and give women the opportunity to develop new skills and responses that can help create a more positive future for themselves through use of practical hands-on support, designed around individual needs.

The expectation is that a person referred is at a point where they are willing to positively engage, and the support that can be provided will depend on the level of engagement. For some, this may be a brief period of support to access a service and for others, longer term support may be required.

Why does this happen?

We recognise that women who have been in care themselves  are  more  likely  to  have  their  own children  taken  into  care,  however  there  are many  other  reasons  why  this  might  happen.

Many women are likely to have been affected by some of, if not all of the following issues:

  • the impact of domestic abuse
  • emotional needs not being met
  • belief that the next pregnancy may result in keeping the child
  • desire for the nurturing experience of pregnancy
  • concern over the impact of contraceptives on their body
  • chaotic lives mean contraception is not well-managed, or not a priority

Therefore, pregnancies may be the result of choice, through accident or, most likely, a complex combination of the two.

How WAY works

We aim to break this cycle and give each woman the opportunity to develop new skills and responses that can help create a more positive future.

We seek to ensure better outcomes for women and children by offering the right support and an intense programme of therapeutic, practical and behavioural support, individually tailored around each woman’s own needs.

WAY will provide the following support:

  • to work alongside women throughout a 2-year period to implement and sustain change in their lives
  • to offer an intense programme of therapeutic, practical and behavioural support, individually tailored around the client’s own needs
  • to work within a multi-agency approach, accessing support from the most specialist services available
  • to work alongside women in a supportive and encouraging way and at the client’s own pace, allowing them to identify and make decisions about what they want to aspire to achieve
  • to support women to break cycles of repeat removals by encouraging them to focus on their own health, lifestyle and needs
  • to support women to engage with contraceptive services in order for them to avoid repeat pregnancies and removal of children
  • build resilience and self-esteem
  • address negative issues when ready such as drug, alcohol and domestic abuse
  • develop aspirations for the future
  • build new relationships with professionals and others
  • enable healthy relationships with partners, friends and family
  • to promote positive health, mental health, improved well-being and confidence

What WAY cannot offer?

While the WAY programme is designed to address the issues that have contributed to children being taken into care, or being at risk of being taken into care, entering into the WAY programme does not:

  • get children returned from care
  • conduct parenting assessments

How to access WAY

Complete the referral form

Alternatively, you can contact the WAY team by emailing way@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk or phone 0300 300 6752 / 0300 300 5643.

Referrals will take place at a point where a woman is willing to positively engage. The support that can be provided will also depend on the level of engagement. For some, this may be a brief period of support to access, for example, the contraception services that are offered. For others, longer term support may be required. We also require women who enter the WAY programme to take long-acting, but reversible contraception.

Download the WAY leaflet