A PILOT project working with a group of mums with dozens of children in care must continue, the council’s deputy leader has said.
The 18-month Pause Rotherham initiative is drawing to a close - and funding to see it sustained has yet to be found.
The project encourages women to take a pause in child-bearing through long-acting contraception and other support.
By May it was working with 24 women who have had a combined 78 children taken into care.
Twenty women are still involved and three more could join - but the project’s future remains uncertain.
Cllr Maggi Clark said all of the women had experienced domestic violence and mental health issues - but the results had been remarkable, with one starting university and two at college.
She added: “The Pause women have many complex and often interlinked needs. This is not just about contraception. This is about quality of life.
“Using the women’s birthing history, it can be estimated that if there was no targeted intervention, this group of women could go on to have seven children in any future year.
“The impact of women taking a pause in pregnancy for the duration of the programme is the avoidance of 15 births over 27 months.
“At present, unless we can get funding, we could only sustain Pause by taking away other statutory social services, and this can’t happen.”
The £419,000 pilot has been funded by Rotherham Council, which looks set to save £580,000 in other costs.
Deputy leader Cllr Gordon Watson said: “This has been a fantastic initiative. It’s had a dramatic effect on the lives of these young women.
“It’s something that we really do have to bend over backwards to ensure we find a way of continuing.
“The difference it makes to the lives of these people has been immense.”
Another 250 Rotherham women are thought to be eligible for Pause, should it continue.
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