Signs of Safety

Signs of Safety (SofS) is an approach to child protection that was developed in Australia in the 1990s. It draws on Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and encourages the social worker to work collaboratively with parents / carers, and assess risks and strengths in the family.


Quasi-experimental evaluation / In progress

Estimated completion

May 2020

Focus areas

Whole system

Working with

Health Social Care Workforce Research Unit - King's College London

Delivered by

Munro, Turnell and Murphy Consulting

Evaluated by

What Works for Children's Social Care

Key Figures

Local authorities 27

It has been adopted across North America, Australasia and Europe and is a popular practice model in England.

The Munro, Turnell and Murphy Child Protection Consulting (MTM) was supported by Wave 1 of the Department for Education Innovation Programme to work with 10 pilot local authorities in England to implement SofS. The 10 pilot local authorities were evaluated by Health Social Care Workforce Research Unit – King’s College London (HSCWRU).  HSCWRU is currently evaluating the SofS with 8 of the same local authorities plus an additional local authority in Wave 2 of the Innovation Programme.

What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) is complementing the HSCWRU’s evaluation in this phase through conducting a difference-in-difference analysis. The aim of this analysis is to obtain quasi-causal estimates of the effect of SofS on the duration of assessments, the likelihood of an initial child protection conference, the likelihood of cases designated as NFA to be re-referred, the likelihood of cases to be re-referred and result in a child protection plan (CPP) or the child being looked after (LAC), and the share of kinship care vs non-kinship care.

Quasi-causal estimates are useful to get to an accurate picture of the effect of SofS and so can help decision-makers in local authorities make decisions on whether or not to invest in SofS.

This work builds on WWCSC’s systematic review of SofS focusing on reducing entry to care.

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