One mother has 17 children taken into care


A mother has had 17 children removed from her care by the local authority during the course of her life.

The authority concerned, Newcastle City Council, said there was "nothing particularly unusual" about its approach to the issue.

The council is working with the charity Barnado's on the Pause project to reduce the number of women who have to give up child after child.

The council would not divulge personal details about the Tyneside mother.

The startling figure was unearthed in a survey of North East councils by the BBC.

A Newcastle City Council spokeswoman said: "Each case is dealt with according to the individual circumstances of the family."

Women who have to give up multiple children are usually vulnerable, often due to abuse, addiction or because of mental health problems.

The council spokeswoman added: "The decision to remove a child is made on a case by case basis and efforts are made to support children to remain with their family where this is appropriate.

"As a last resort the court may decide, in the child's best interest, to remove them from their parents' care."

Sian Bufton, Assistant Director Children's Services for Barnardo's in Newcastle, said: "Our new service will be working on an intensive support programme to break the cycle - helping the women to tackle destructive patterns of behaviour and develop new skills to prevent future children being taken into care.

"It will focus on individual women who have already had two or more children removed.

"The programme draws on Barnardo's 30 years of expertise in early years support in Newcastle, as well as partnership working with other organisations."