‘A strong support system’: Final report of the evaluation of Breathing Space

Veronica Coram

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This report outlines the results of an evaluation of the Breathing Space pilot program, based in Adelaide, South Australia, for young women aged 25 and under who have experienced the removal of a child or children from their care and are therefore at heightened risk of recurrent removal in the future. The evaluation finds that Breathing Space is filling a service gap for young women whose support needs are largely disregarded after child removal and in most cases have been unaddressed for a long time leading up to child removal. Breathing Space participants have high complexity of need and present with a wide range of issues at intake. These issues include not only trauma, loss, grief and anger associated with the removal of their children, but also unmanaged mental and physical health issues; financial hardship, housing stress and homelessness; challenging personal relationships; experience of out of home care as children; sexual abuse; exposure to family and domestic violence; and problematic substance use. Most Breathing Space participants have a history of trauma dating back to their own childhoods and Breathing Space aims to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational trauma and child maltreatment. Despite systemic challenges, the evaluation finds that Breathing Space delivers significant benefits across multiple life domains for participants who are able to engage with the intervention over its 18-month duration.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherCentre for Social Impact
Number of pages115
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Child protection system
  • disadvantaged groups
  • case management
  • trauma-informed care
  • domestic violence
  • Intergenerational transmission of trauma


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