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Action for Change

Action for Change is a service for birth parents who have had their children removed permanently from their care. The service aims to prevent recurrent care proceedings by helping birth parents to have a better understanding of the reasons for the previous removal and help manage the consequences of having a child removed from their care.

The service works across Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster City Council and is a team of multi-disciplinary practitioners using therapeutic and outreach interventions to engage with parents on a one-to-one basis and as part of a group.

1. How we work

Who we work with

Action for Change works with parents who have had a child(ren) removed permanently from their care and who are resident in Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster boroughs. Specifically, we work with:

  • parents post final hearing of permanent removal 
  • pregnant women who have had a child removed from their care previously. The pre-birth period is utilised to address concerns highlighted in previous removals, support the client to demonstrate capacity to change and potentially achieve different outcomes. 

How we work

The reasons for children being removed from the birth parents’ care are varied but may include historic or current domestic abuse, mental health, alcohol and substance misuse, and neglect.

Our support to birth parents post permanent removal of the child(ren) from their care covers three general areas:

Practical support: this may include sexual health and contraception, homelessness prevention and accessing support from external agencies etc.

Professional support: such as advising parents around contacts, coordinate network meetings and mediating between other professionals and the birth parent.

Emotional and mental health support: to ensure the wellbeing of the parent’s mental and emotional health, building positive relationships and support networks.

Some of the key interventions and approaches that Action for Change uses includes:

  • systemic thoughts and practice, where in-depth exploration of the wider rationale for repeat removals is addressed.
  • therapeutic and evidence based interventions, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Family Therapy, Addiction Psychology and Video Interaction Guidance.
  • one-to-one interventions in the community using flexible and innovative methods to engage and develop positive relationships.
  • group work and activity-based interventions such as ‘Strengthening Families and Strengthening Communities Programme’ and using principles of the ‘Freedom Programme’. All programmes are tailored specifically for parents who have had their child(ren) removed from their care.

 For more information about this service or the contents of this page, please contact

2. How to access the service

If you are interested in accessing the service, if you are working with a parent who might benefit from this service or if you want more information, please contact: 

For more information about this service or the contents of this page, please contact  

3. Resources

Best practice toolkit

The Action for Change project has demonstrated that the interventions within this toolkit can be effective to engage clients who have had or are at risk of having their children removed from their care by addressing their needs and creating positive change and stability. This toolkit was produced by transnational partners as part of the EU pilot project.

Best Practice toolkit

Women’s Resource Booklet

The ‘By Survivors For Survivors’ booklet raises awareness for women of their rights relating to intimate citizenship, the impact of life choices and of the support services available to them locally. The booklet was produced by the UK’s Women’s Shadow Board members and was officially launched at the Action for Change Final Dissemination Conference in 2016 in the UK. 

Women's Resource Booklet

UK report

An evaluation of the Action for Service was commissioned by the EU between 2015-2016. This included interviews frontline staff, to find out about experiences of delivering the support, the effectiveness of the approaches and interventions applied, identifying strengths and areas of improvement, issues, and best practice. This also helped analyse the challenges in working with this target group. Qualitative research was undertaken with the birth parents to explore different views of the support received and the impact this had on their personal development throughout the period of the pilot project. 

Action for Change Final Evaluation Report

For more information about this service or the contents of this page, please contact  



4. 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 of at least 2 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.

Transnational Project Research and Evaluation Report

​Project E-newsletters

Last updated: 14 February 2020