This report presents findings from a pilot evaluation of the No Wrong Door Model in Middlesbrough (known locally as Futures for Families). This was commissioned by the Department for Education as part of the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) programme.
No Wrong Door was developed by North Yorkshire County Council with support from the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. The approach is delivered by an integrated multidisciplinary team providing support to young people in care or on the edge of care. This is delivered through a range of services, outreach and accommodation options. Practice is strengths based, restorative and informed by the No Wrong Door Distinguishers, Provocations and Non-Negotiables.
This pilot aimed to provide early insights into the rollout of No Wrong Door and inform the next phase of the evaluation by asking three key research questions.
- Evidence of Feasibility i.e. Can the intervention be delivered as intended, is it acceptable to those delivering and receiving it, and what are the contextual facilitators and barriers?
- Evidence of Promise i.e. What evidence is there that the intervention mechanism operates as expected and that it can have a positive impact on outcomes?
- Readiness for Trial i.e. How consistently can the intervention be delivered and is the programme sufficiently codified to operate at scale?
How we went about it
We collected data through:
- Interviews, focus groups, observations of practice and a survey of staff working in Middlesbrough’s Futures for Families service
- Interviews with Social Workers who make referrals to Middlesbrough’s Futures for Families service
- Interviews with young people, parents and carers
- Administrative data about intervention delivery
Many elements of the No Wrong Door model were implemented as planned in Middlesbrough’s Futures for Families service, even in the context of a global pandemic. This included having most of the intended staff team in place and trained in restorative and solution-focused ways of working. Practice was largely consistent with No Wrong Door’s Distinguishers, Provocations and Non-Negotiables.
Staff in Middlesbrough’s Futures for Families service were largely positive about the No Wrong Door model, and the training they had received. Staff found that having regular opportunities to bond as a team and regular reminders of the No Wrong Door principles helped their practice.
Families reported positive relationships with Futures for Families staff, and were positive about the intensive, responsive and flexible nature of the support provided.
There was also evidence that some elements of the No Wrong Door Model had begun to influence wider practice in Children’s Social Care, although this was still in its early stages.
Some elements which were harder to implement included finding suitable foster placements, and ensuring attendance of multi-agency professionals at multidisciplinary meetings. Ensuring appropriate referrals were made to the service, and balancing hub placements with outreach support also provided some challenges.
This evaluation only captures the early stages of implementation of the No Wrong Door model. Interpretation of findings from this pilot evaluation should also consider that delivery of Futures for Families in Middlesbrough was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on what worked well in Middlesbrough as well as ways in which delivery could be improved, when introducing No Wrong Door in a new area, local decision-makers should:
- Ensure sufficient staffing capacity to respond to the needs of young people who are in placements as well as those who require outreach support.
- Provide comprehensive training and guidance for referring practitioners and multi-agency partners.
- Ensure a consistent approach across Children’s Services, including guidance on using the model in conjunction with any existing practice model.
- Ensure a sufficient supply of foster carers suitable to care for teenagers.
- Provide regular opportunities for the No Wrong Door multidisciplinary team to build relationships and revisit the No Wrong Door principles.
An impact evaluation being led by What Works for Children’s Social Care is now being undertaken in four local authorities. This will consider the impact of No Wrong Door on the likelihood of children being looked after. Details are set out in our trial protocol.