Council bosses are supporting families as they see an increase in children being taken into care

The highest number of children removed from a Hartlepool mum is three.
The highest number of children removed from a Hartlepool mum is three.

Council bosses in Hartlepool say they have been an increase in the number of 'looked after' children and are supporting families in the town.

The comments came after figures compiled by BBC Newcastle found that the highest number of children removed from one mother in Hartlepool in the past 20 years, was three.

This figure was low in comparision to other areas, such as Newcastle, where is was revealed one mum had a total of 17 children taken into care. In Sunderland and County Durham the figure was nine.

A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: "We have seen an increase in the number of children becoming 'looked after' over the last 12 months.

“Whilst domestic violence and substance misuse can be main reasons for children becoming looked after, families often face a range of complex issues, including mental health issues,

separation and bereavement.

“We try to help parents by signposting them to a range of services than can offer them support.”

The reasons for the removal of 17 children from a Newcastle mother, the highest recorded in the UK, have not been revealed.

Childcare charity, Barnardo's, has announced the launch of a new project in the city to help reduce the number of children taken in to care.

According to the charity the most common reasons for mothers losing their kids are domestic abuse in the home, drug and alcohol misuse and mental health issues.

Research looking at family court records found that, in 2013, 2,018 babies were taken into care at birth or soon afterwards, up from 802 in 2008.

The study Vulnerable Birth Mothers and Recurrent Care Proceedings, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, found that between 2007 and 2014 a total of 13,248 babies were removed by the authorities.

Sian Bufton, assistant director with children's services for Barnardo's, said the case of the mum who had 17 children taken was "exceptional."

She said that she hoped the charity's Pause project, which was founded in Hackney to help reduce the number of "repeat removals," will stop the situation arising again when it opens in Newcastle.

Ms Bufton said: "I think she is an exception, I don't think anyone else in Newcastle has reached anywhere near that figure and hopefully in the future there will not be any more because we will have been able to deliver this service.

"It is likely she would have had difficulties such as domestic abuse, mental health problems, a chaotic lifestyle, possibly substance misuse."