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Listing of research projects and reports

  • read more about What Works in Education for Children who have had Social Workers
    Report

    What Works in Education for Children who have had Social Workers

    Summary We know that children and young people who have had a social worker have, on average, lower attainment than their peers. However, we do not have a good sense of what works to improve educational outcomes for this group. This project re-analyses data from the National Pupil Database and 63 randomised controlled trials (RCTs), […]
  • read more about Overview of administrative data on children’s social care in England
    Report

    Overview of administrative data on children’s social care in England

    Providing an overview of the administrative data on children’s social care that exists, how the data is currently used, and suggesting ways it could be used for future research Summary This short report gives an overview of administrative data available on children’s social care in England, to encourage researchers and local authorities to make more […]
  • read more about Care-Experienced Young People and Higher Education
    Report

    Care-Experienced Young People and Higher Education

    Summary Care-experienced young people in the United Kingdom are less likely to attend university than peers who have not been in care.  This study set out to find out more about this situation, particularly the expectations care experienced young people held towards university attendance during the years leading up to university application and how these […]
  • read more about Social Workers in Schools: An evaluation of a pilot in three local authorities in England
    Report

    Social Workers in Schools: An evaluation of a pilot in three local authorities in England

    Summary This evaluation looked at three pilot projects which embedded social workers in schools. It explored how working in this way might help reduce referrals, support schools, and reduce the need for children to enter care. Schools play a key part in keeping children safe, and tend to be a source of many referrals to […]
  • read more about Systematic review on the effectiveness of policies, programmes or interventions to improve health and psychosocial outcomes for young people leaving the out of home care system
    Project

    Systematic review on the effectiveness of policies, programmes or interventions to improve health and psychosocial outcomes for young people leaving the out of home care system

    Young people who leave or transition out of out-of-home care (OOHC) arrangements commonly experience poorer outcomes across a range of indicators — including, higher rates of homelessness, unemployment, reliance on public assistance, physical and mental health problems, and contact with the criminal justice system — relative to their counterparts in the general population. The age […]
  • read more about How family budget change interventions affect children being in care
    Report

    How family budget change interventions affect children being in care

    Understanding how changes to family budgets can affect the likelihood of children being in care Summary This rapid evidence assessment aims to summarise the research evidence on how changing a family budget can affect the likelihood of children being in care. The evidence included two very different approaches – (1) interventions to increase the money […]
  • read more about Shared Decision-Making: What is good practice in delivering meetings?
    Report

    Shared Decision-Making: What is good practice in delivering meetings?

    Involving families meaningfully in decision-making to keep children safely at home Summary Shared decision-making is a feature of a number of service-delivery models, such as Family Group Conferencing, Family Group Decision-Making and Family Unity Meetings. Underpinning all these models is a commitment to ensuring that children and families are involved in decision-making about their own […]
  • read more about Signs of Safety: Findings from a mixed-methods systematic review focused on reducing the need for children to be in care
    Report

    Signs of Safety: Findings from a mixed-methods systematic review focused on reducing the need for children to be in care

    Summary Signs of Safety (SoS) is a framework for child protection practice. SoS aims to stabilise and strengthen families through working in collaboration to identify and harness their strengths and resources. This places relationships between social workers and parents at the centre of child protection. Signs of Safety: Findings from a mixed-methods systematic review focussed […]
  • read more about Safely reducing the need for children to enter care
    Report

    Safely reducing the need for children to enter care

    Summary The number of children entering care has increased substantially over the last 20 years. In 1997 in England there were 50,900 children in care and this had risen to 72,670 in 2017, an increase of 43 per cent. This has led to considerable public expression of concern, including the publication of the recent Care […]
  • read more about Outcomes-Focused Supervision: A Pilot and Feasibility Study
    Report

    Outcomes-Focused Supervision: A Pilot and Feasibility Study

    Summary There is a widespread consensus about the importance of social work supervision. However, we do not have a good sense of what works in supervision to make a difference for children and families. This project involved training a small group of supervisors in a different approach to supervision (outcomes-focused supervision) and then measuring what […]
  • read more about Mapping the evidence about what works to safely reduce the entry of children and young people into statutory care: A systematic scoping review
    Report

    Mapping the evidence about what works to safely reduce the entry of children and young people into statutory care: A systematic scoping review

    Summary The increasing number of children and young people entering statutory care in the UK is a significant social, health and educational priority. Development of effective approaches to safely reduce this number remains a complex but critical issue. Despite an increase in interventions, evidence summaries are limited. This study is a scoping review; using systematic […]
  • read more about Ethics Review of Machine Learning in Children’s Social Care
    Report

    Ethics Review of Machine Learning in Children’s Social Care

    SummaryThis report: Reviews the ethical criteria that would make the use of machine learning (ML) in children’s social care (CSC) justifiable and examines the problematic contexts in which such criteria may not be met; Identifies requirements and best practice for the responsible use of ML in CSC; Presents recommendations for a way forward.  Objectives The […]
  • read more about Promoting the Retention, Mental Health, and Wellbeing of Child and Family Social Workers: A Systematic Review of Workforce Interventions
    Report

    Promoting the Retention, Mental Health, and Wellbeing of Child and Family Social Workers: A Systematic Review of Workforce Interventions

    Summary Mental health, wellbeing and retention are pressing concerns within children’s social care. This systematic review aims to summarise existing evidence on workforce interventions to improve mental health, wellbeing or retention of child and family social workers. Findings suggest a number of potentially promising interventions, particularly organisational level interventions. However, there is very little high […]
  • read more about Devolved Budgets: An Evaluation of Pilots in Three Local Authorities in England
    Report

    Devolved Budgets: An Evaluation of Pilots in Three Local Authorities in England

    Summary This evaluation explored how ‘devolved budgets’ might be used by Children’s Social Care to provide resources to families and reduce the need for care. A devolved budget is a financial resource that is made available to social workers to spend with families. The idea is that social workers and families are best placed to […]
  • read more about Family Drug and Alcohol Court – Parent Mentoring Pilot
    Project

    Family Drug and Alcohol Court – Parent Mentoring Pilot

    The pilot implementation evaluation of the parent mentoring component of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC) is part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme. Family Drug and Alchohol Court (FDAC) uses a problem solving approach to care proceedings, where a team of substance misuse specialists, domestic violence experts, […]
  • read more about Machine Learning in Children’s Services: Does it work?
    Report

    Machine Learning in Children’s Services: Does it work?

    Summary Children’s Services departments have substantial amounts of data available to them. This, combined with advances in computing power and algorithms, opens up the possibility of using machine learning to identify children at risk – allowing social workers to use their time to work directly with families. However, to date it has been unclear just […]
  • read more about Impact Of Shared Decision-making Family Meetings On Children’s Out-of-home Care, Family Empowerment and Satisfaction
    Report

    Impact Of Shared Decision-making Family Meetings On Children’s Out-of-home Care, Family Empowerment and Satisfaction

    Summary We reviewed the international evidence on the outcomes of shared decision-making family meetings. These meetings aim to improve family members’ involvement in decisions about children at risk, compared with a traditional child protection case conference. Objectives We set out to review all studies that had (1) a comparison group – e.g. comparing families who […]
  • read more about Family Drug and Alcohol Court – Post-Proceedings Support Pilot
    Project

    Family Drug and Alcohol Court – Post-Proceedings Support Pilot

    The pilot evaluation of the post-proceedings support component of Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC) is part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme. Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) uses a problem solving approach to care proceedings, where a team of substance misuse specialists, domestic violence experts, psychiatrists […]
  • read more about Evaluation of Family Group Conferences at pre-proceedings stage
    Project

    Evaluation of Family Group Conferences at pre-proceedings stage

    This project seeks to evaluate referring families for Family Group Conferences (FGCs) at pre-proceedings, as part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme, which is expanding and rolling out promising interventions that came through the DfE’s Innovation Programme. The evaluation, conducted by Coram, consists of a randomised controlled trial […]
  • read more about Evaluation of the Mockingbird programme
    Project

    Evaluation of the Mockingbird programme

    The evaluation of the Mockingbird programme is part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme, which is expanding and rolling out promising interventions that came through the DfE’s Innovation Programme.  The Mockingbird programme is delivered by The Fostering Network. It is an innovative method of foster care using the […]
  • read more about Family Safeguarding Model – Trial Evaluation
    Project

    Family Safeguarding Model – Trial Evaluation

    This project seeks to evaluate the roll-out of the Family Safeguarding model in five local authorities in England, as part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) programme. The local authorities analysed are Walsall, Lancashire, Telford & Wrekin, Wandsworth and Swindon. The evaluation of the roll-out includes an impact evaluation […]
  • read more about Family Valued Model – Trial Evaluation
    Project

    Family Valued Model – Trial Evaluation

    This project seeks to evaluate the roll-out of the Family Valued model in five local authorities in England, as part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) programme. The local authorities analysed are Warwickshire, Newcastle, Coventry, Solihull and Sefton.  The evaluation of the roll-out includes an impact evaluation of the […]
  • read more about Family Valued Model Pilot
    Project

    Family Valued Model Pilot

    This evaluation is part of the pilot phase of Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC), which will support selected local authorities to adapt and adopt one of three projects in their own area. This protocol sets out the pilot evaluation of one of these three projects, the Family Valued Model. Developed in Leeds, Family Valued is […]
  • read more about No Wrong Door Model – Trial Evaluation
    Project

    No Wrong Door Model – Trial Evaluation

    This project seeks to evaluate the roll-out of the No Wrong Door model in five local authorities in England, as part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) programme. The local authorities analysed are Rochdale, Redcar & Cleveland, Warrington, Norfolk, and Leicester. The evaluation of the roll-out includes an impact […]
  • read more about No Wrong Door Pilot
    Project

    No Wrong Door Pilot

    This evaluation is part of the pilot phase of Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC), which will support selected local authorities to adapt and adopt one of three projects in their own area. This protocol sets out the pilot evaluation of one of these three projects, No Wrong Door. Developed in North Yorkshire, No Wrong Door […]
  • read more about Signs of Safety
    Project

    Signs of Safety

    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 […]
  • read more about Social Work Health Check
    Project

    Social Work Health Check

    According to the Local Government Association’s (LGA’s) employer standards, all employers should conduct a ‘health check’ to ‘assess whether the practice conditions and working environment of the social work workforce are safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.’ What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) is co-producing with principal social workers (PSWs) a survey for PSWs […]
  • read more about Supervision of Designated Safeguarding Leads in primary schools
    Project

    Supervision of Designated Safeguarding Leads in primary schools

    DSLs are the members of staff in a school who have the lead responsibility for safeguarding and child protection, including responsibility for referring cases that meet threshold levels of concern on to Children’s Social Care (CSC). The role involves having to make difficult decisions about complex situations and vulnerable children, however DSLs tend not to […]
  • read more about Family Safeguarding Model Pilot
    Project

    Family Safeguarding Model Pilot

    This evaluation is part of the pilot phase of Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC), which will support selected local authorities to adapt and adopt one of three projects in their own area. This protocol sets out the pilot evaluation of one of these three projects, the Family Safeguarding Model. Developed in Hertfordshire, Family Safeguarding is […]
  • read more about Supporting Good Judgement in Social Work
    Project

    Supporting Good Judgement in Social Work

    In collaboration with Cardiff University and UCL School of Management, the Supporting Good Judgement in Social Work Project aims to understand how accurately social workers can forecast what is going to happen next from reading brief case summaries, and whether forecasting accuracy can be improved with one of three short, online interventions. In this trial, […]
  • read more about Happier, Healthier Professionals: Symbolic Awards
    Project

    Happier, Healthier Professionals: Symbolic Awards

    The Happier, Healthier Professionals research programme aims to support the profession by understanding how local authorities might address rates of employee sickness absence and turnover by introducing interventions designed to alleviate stress and increase employee wellbeing. In this trial, we will test whether providing social workers with a letter of gratitude for their hard work […]
  • read more about Re-analysis of education trials for children’s social care
    Project

    Re-analysis of education trials for children’s social care

    The educational attainment of children who are referred to or in need of social care services is far below the national average, while the evidence base for improving the level for this cohort is sparse. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has conducted 83 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of school- or early years-based interventions since 2012, which […]
  • read more about Happier, Healthier Professionals: Goal-setting and Wellbeing Programme
    Project

    Happier, Healthier Professionals: Goal-setting and Wellbeing Programme

    The Happier, Healthier Professionals research programme aims to support the profession by understanding how local authorities might address rates of employee sickness absence and turnover by introducing interventions designed to alleviate stress and increase employee wellbeing. In this trial, we will test whether giving social workers licence to allocate time to a six-week online programme […]
  • read more about Happier, Healthier Professionals: Social Worker Recognition – Coffee
    Project

    Happier, Healthier Professionals: Social Worker Recognition – Coffee

    The Happier, Healthier Professionals research programme aims to support the profession by understanding how local authorities might address rates of employee sickness absence and turnover by introducing interventions designed to alleviate stress and increase employee wellbeing. In this pilot, we will test whether providing social workers with access to free, high-quality tea and coffee in […]
  • read more about Devolving budgets to social workers in Darlington
    Project

    Devolving budgets to social workers in Darlington

    Darlington Borough Council is devolving budgets to frontline social workers and managers, giving individual teams the power to identify and test creative solutions aiming to safely prevent children and young people from entering care. Families where children are at risk of imminently requiring a care order will be identified by a team manager. 30-50 of […]
  • read more about Devolving budgets to social workers in Hillingdon
    Project

    Devolving budgets to social workers in Hillingdon

    Hillingdon Council is devolving budgets to frontline social workers and managers, giving individual teams the power to identify and test creative solutions aiming to improve outcomes for vulnerable young people on the edge of care. The newly established ‘Vulnerable Adolescents Team’ will work with 100 adolescents who are particularly at risk of child sexual exploitation […]
  • read more about Devolving budgets to social workers in Wigan
    Project

    Devolving budgets to social workers in Wigan

    Wigan Council is devolving budgets to frontline social workers and managers, giving individual teams the power to identify and test creative solutions aiming to keep children and young people safely at home with their families. 100 families will be identified by Wigan’s ‘Reunification’ team and the ‘Edging Away from Care’ panel. The families will be […]
  • read more about Predictive Analytics
    Project

    Predictive Analytics

    Part of the role of a social worker is assessing risk, for example, whether a child is at sufficient risk of significant harm to justify a child protection conference. By being able to predict outcomes sooner, it is thought that harm to children could be prevented and dealt with earlier, and it might reduce the […]
  • read more about Schwartz Rounds
    Project

    Schwartz Rounds

    Children’s Social Care services can be challenging, stressful and emotionally taxing places to work. Turnover rates and working life-spans within this profession are markedly shorter than other comparable careers, including teachers, doctors and nurses. Cardiff University (CASCADE) is conducting randomised controlled trials (RCTs) within 11 Local Authorities (LAs) in England of Schwartz Rounds, a wellbeing […]
  • read more about Social workers based in Lambeth schools
    Project

    Social workers based in Lambeth schools

    The London Borough of Lambeth is investigating whether embedding social care professionals within the school network can help prevent harm, and therefore reduce the need for further statutory care measures. Five social workers will be placed in one each of five high-need secondary schools, associated with eight feeder primary schools. The social workers will undertake […]
  • read more about Social workers based in Southampton schools
    Project

    Social workers based in Southampton schools

    Southampton City Council plans to embed a team of 5 social workers across 3 school ‘clusters’ to undertake necessary statutory social care work, continue working with families already involved with social care, and to provide prevention interventions across all levels of care: primary (general population), secondary (vulnerable families), and tertiary (where harm to children has […]
  • read more about Social workers based in Stockport schools
    Project

    Social workers based in Stockport schools

    Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council plans to embed a team of 6 social workers and 3 senior practitioners across the Werneth school cluster, which consists of 2 secondary schools and 9 primary schools. The aim of this project is to prevent harm to children, deal with any such issues that arise more swiftly, and reduce the […]