In recent decades, early intervention has consistently been acknowledged as being important in supporting children and families who experience difficulties which may bring them to the attention of statutory services.
Existing work has identified that there exist significant deficits and complexities in the evidence base relating to the impact of early intervention and support on outcomes for children and their families. Lack of evidence about what constitutes effective early help for families experiencing specific issues, such as domestic violence and parental substance misuse as well as lack of central or locally based research into effective outcomes in early help has been identified as a concern. There is also contradictory evidence as to the relationship between the provision of effective early intervention services and cost savings within Children’s Services Departments. There is a pressing need for further research into the benefits associated with the provision of effective early help services and factors which have been found to contribute to useful service delivery.
This study is a mixed-method pilot evaluation of the Cluster Collaborative model in one local authority, which provides early help services to local families in need of support. The overall aims of this study are to understand:
Evidence of feasibility –
- What were the referral routes and outcomes at case closure for families receiving help from the Cluster between January and June 2021?
- Under what circumstances do families receive short-term intervention from a RES Hub while open to the Cluster and what are the outcomes associated with this?
- To what extent is support from the Cluster delivered as intended and what do practitioners identify as the potential barriers and facilitators for this?
Evidence of promise –
- Is there evidence to support or extend understanding of how and under what circumstances support from the Cluster works?
- What do families and practitioners perceive to be the impacts of receiving support from the Cluster?
- Are there any unintended consequences or negative effects of receiving support from the Cluster?
This project was funded as part of our Spark Grant scheme, which sought to fund research projects looking to improve outcomes for children and families and build an evidence base in children’s social care.
The purpose of the Spark Grant Scheme was to fund additional research in children’s social care, conducted by researchers who might otherwise be under-represented in the research community, and/or who might struggle to get funding through other routes, with the aim of providing project leadership opportunities for researchers who may have not had the experience to date.
The project is set to begin in September 2021 and be completed by August 2022.
For further information about the Spark Grant Scheme or its projects, please contact the Programmes team: firstname.lastname@example.org