Supporting you when your child is no longer living with you

About us

The Lotus Team supports mothers and birthing people whose children no longer live with them due to Children’s Services involvement.

We offer support through individual therapy, group work, peer support and specialist midwifery care.

We know that there are many reasons why children do not live with their parents. We also understand that it can be a very painful experience for the parents when this decision is made. We know that you may feel isolated and that it can affect many areas of your life.

The Lotus Team is proud to include professionals from a range of backgrounds – including Clinical Psychologists, Peer Support Workers, Psychotherapists, and Specialist Midwives –to offer support that makes your view of the situation a priority and provide care that is specific to your needs.

You can self-refer and we also accept referrals from GPs, midwives, social workers, health visitors, other mental health services and agencies. We are funded to support you when care arrangements have been made within the first year after birth. This may have happened recently or in the past.

About this service

In 2018/2019, there were approximately 100,000 ‘looked after children’ in the UK (NSPCC, 2021*). This is because some children are separated from their parents and placed in the care of the Local Authority. Following this, children may go on to live with other family members, be fostered, or adopted. As this is a major decision, only a court can decide that a child should not live with his or her parents and Children’s Services will look at all other possibilities before going to court. We recognise there may also be other situations where children are no longer living with their parents. If you’re unsure whether we may be able to support you, please contact us to discuss further.

In some situations, newborn babies are separated from their parents at birth, or shortly after, due to Children’s Services involvement. This can be a very stressful and emotional time for parents. You may know that your baby will be separated from you in pregnancy, or you may not know the outcome until sometime after birth. Every situation is different.

Lots of people experience some of the following emotions:

  • Despair
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Isolation
  • Confusion
  • Anger
  • Grief
  • Feeling hopeless

It is important you talk to a trusted person, like a friend, family member, or health care professional about how you are feeling. A midwife from the Lotus team may be able to offer some additional guidance after the birth, to make sure you have the right support in place. This might involve seeing your GP, signposting you to local support, accessing drugs and alcohol support services, and ensuring other healthcare professionals are aware of the care you may need.

If the feelings described above are long lasting, overwhelming, or impacting your every-day life, the Lotus Team may be able to offer you some additional support after your child has stopped living with you. It’s important that you feel ready for this kind of support and it may be that other services are better suited to you immediately afterwards while you are coming to terms with things. We are always happy to talk to you about whether this is the right time for you to access our service. Our service could also be helpful for you in a future pregnancy, if you are struggling to come to terms with your child not living with you.

What we offer

As part of an individual plan, we will work with you to consider what support would be most helpful. For some, this might include:

  • Individual therapy – supporting you to make sense of your experiences, learn new skills, decide what is important, and work out a way forward
  • Group Work – an opportunity to learn ways to manage difficult emotions, share your story, and connect with others who may have gone through a similar experience
  • Peer Support – accompanying and inspiring people on their recovery journey through use of their lived experiences of trauma and/or loss around the period of pregnancy or shortly afterwards.
  • Support from Specialist Midwives – offering advice and specialised support around maternity choices and care for you, exploring your experience of maternity care and valuing your experience as a mother/birthing parent

We know that your child no longer living with you can be a highly traumatic experience. We offer a “trauma informed care approach”, which means:

  • staff being trustworthy and clear
  • peer support
  • working together and supporting women to make individual choices
  • being sensitive to cultural and gender issues that may impact on anyone’s experience of care. 

Additional support within the Lotus Team

Alongside this support, we also offer support for women and birthing people who may experience difficulties related to:

  1. Birth trauma (a traumatic event related to pregnancy, birth or afterwards)
  2. Fear of childbirth (Tokophobia)
  3. Loss of a pregnancy or the death of a baby

It is common for people to have experience across these situations. We can discuss any additional needs you might have and think together about what support might look like.

How to refer

You can refer yourself by calling 01603 786781 or sending an email to Please note that the phone line and email are not staffed 24/7, and if you need help urgently see the information below. You can also ask other health or social care professionals to make a referral on your behalf.

Other Agencies we work closely with

Local support

YouCanBe and Mpower - Ormiston Families :

Mpower supports women who have had one or more children removed from their care, including those who are currently in care proceedings. Work is one-to-one and non-time limited. Women are supported to set and work towards personal goals, which can include sexual health and reproductive health, understanding of previous removals, healthy relationships, emotional support, and access to other services. Mpower is available in Great Yarmouth, Norwich, King’s Lynn, Lowestoft, Ipswich and Fenland

YouCanBe supports vulnerable young women from the age of 14 who might require support due to a range of adverse childhood experiences, including those considered at risk of pregnancy.

Positive Choices: This is a Suffolk County Council, county-wide service which supports anyone who has had a child or children removed from their care and are at risk of having further children removed.

National Support

Pause ( Pause works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of children from their care.

Family Rights Group – a charity that provides advice to parents, grandparents, relatives and friends about their rights and options when social workers or courts make decisions about their children’s care. Free Advice Line:0808 801 0366 (Monday – Friday 9.30am to 3pm).

Action for Children - Practical support/advice for families and helping children through fostering and adoption.

Family Lives - Charity offering advice for parents, grandparents and other relatives on all aspects of parenting. Helpline, volunteer befrienders, community support groups. Tel: 0808 800 2222

Family Action - Work with families facing complex needs and challenges including mental health problems, domestic abuse and substance misuse. Helping families to enable them to reach their full potential.

Urgent help

The Lotus team is unable to offer 24-hour crisis support. However, NSFT runs the First Response line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be contacted by calling 0808 196 3494.

If you are with someone who has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. 

If anyone is at serious risk of harm, call 999 and ask for the police. 

For non life-threatening medical situations, call NHS111 on 111.

For more information, see Help in a Crisis


*Statistics briefing: Looked After Children (NSPCC, 2021)

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