Innovation News – large-scale projects to transform children’s social care

The Department for Education (DfE) launched the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme to act as a catalyst for developing more effective ways of supporting vulnerable children. The programme is seeking to inspire whole system change to improve the life chances for children receiving support from the social care system, to provide stronger incentives and mechanisms for innovation, experimentation and replication of successful new approaches and to increase value for money. Areas of focus include rethinking children’s social work, support for adolescents in, or on the edge of care, mental health, child sexual exploitation and many other areas of children’s social care.

The Rees Centre is acting as the Evaluation Coordinator for the entire programme.


More about the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme can be found via Spring Consortium

Download the initial findings of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme: Interim Learning Report January 2016

Innovation News: funding confirmed for the following projects

Catch 22 & Cheshire East Council (£1.4m) to pilot a new approach to delivering Children in Need services in Crewe: Evaluation Summary

Doncaster Children’s Services Trust (£3.09m) to lead a joint project with local partners focussing on domestic abuse and in particular its impact on the child, as a catalyst for wider system change: Evaluation Summary

Durham County Council (£3.26m) to redesign their entire social work service to work with families in a new way: Evaluation Summary

Frontline (£1.8m) to produce a development programme for first-tier line managers in children’s social care (called Firstline): Evaluation Summary

Gloucestershire (£1.52m) to redesign its adolescent services into multi-disciplinary teams (mental health, youth support and young offending, LAC, CP and CiN): Evaluation Summary

Hampshire County Council and the Isle of Wight (£3.96m) to introduce a suite of changes to structures and practice across the care system. One element of this work is a new multi-agency missing, exploited and trafficked children team (MET): Evaluation Summary

Hertfordshire County Council (£4.8m) to bring together children’s social workers with specialists in adult mental health in new multi-disciplinary family safeguarding teams: Evaluation Summary

Islington Council (£2.97m) to transform their children’s social care service so that workers spend more time with families and are provided with regular training, supervision and feedback and an approach that ‘measures what matters’: Evaluation Summary

Leeds City Council (£4.85m) to change their whole social care system to embed restorative practice across children’s services, including an entitlement to family group conferences, and intensive work on domestic violence prevention and pre-birth assessment: Evaluation Summary

Morning Lane Associates (MLA) (£4.4m) to implement the ‘reclaiming social work’ approach in 5 local authorities: Evaluation Summary

Munro, Turnell and Murphy (£4.6m) for the Signs of Safety initiative, headed by professor Eileen Munro, which involves rethinking processes, reporting structures and systems so that social workers can work more intensively with families: Evaluation Summary

Newcastle City Council (£2.7m) to redesign their entire approach to social work by developing new specialist social work units that focus on families with similar needs, aiming to support them better: Evaluation Summary

North East Lincolnshire Council (£1.06m) to run a new and extensive workforce development programme ‘Creating Stronger Communities’ across a wide range of services and to creation of five ‘Family Hubs’ in existing Children’s Centres: Evaluation Summary

Stockport Council (£3m) – to integrate social workers with the wider children’s workforce and locate these teams in the heart of communities, linked closely with schools. The new ‘Stockport Family Model’ will be underpinned by restorative practice: Evaluation Summary

Torbay Council to bring together children and adult’s health and social care functions, delivered by an independent provider and establish a public service trust to allow pooling of budgets and joint commissioning (£1.25m): Evaluation Summary

Triborough (London) (£4m) to redesign how they deliver children’s social care from top to bottom, so that professionals can spend more time with children and families and so that practice is rooted in greater expertise and evidence: Evaluation Summary

Rethinking support for adolescents – programmes to prevent teenagers coming into care, and to improve fostering services and residential homes.

Achieving for Children (£1.1 m) to develop a new approach to supporting adolescents in, and on the edge of, care across the two boroughs of Richmond and Kingston: Evaluation Summary

Action for Children (up to £3.3m) to work with Barnet, Harrow and Hounslow councils to run a suite of evidence based programmes (functional family therapy, multi-systemic therapy and multi-dimensional treatment foster care) to transform the support available to adolescents in West London: Evaluation Summary

Aycliffe secure children’s home (Durham County Council) (£496k) to test a new model of support targeting the trauma experienced by young people who have been sexually exploited, and an extended “step-down” service to support the young people in making the transition from the secure setting into more independent living: Evaluation Summary

Calderdale County Council (£727k) to provide a bespoke package of different housing and placement options for adolescents: Evaluation Summary

Cambridgeshire Council (£589k) to spin out their multi-systemic therapy (MST) service into a public service mutual, run by their staff, and offering services to neighbouring local authorities: Evaluation Summary

Ealing Council (£3.5m) to implement a new ‘intensive engagement model’ to transform their social care system for adolescents and radical expanding and reshaping their fostering service: Evaluation Summary

Enfield Borough Council (£2.06m) – to set up a Family Accommodation and Support Hub (open seven days a week until 10 pm) to work intensively with young people identified as at risk of entering care to avoid escalation: Evaluation Summary

Hackney Council (£1.97m) to set up their ‘family learning intervention programme (FLIP)’ which includes intensive therapeutic interventions with families at risk of breakdown – where young people are vulnerable to gang involvement or sexual exploitation – in a residential setting outside Hackney: Evaluation Summary

North Yorkshire (£2.1m) to implement ‘no wrong door’. This will see specialist foster carers working alongside 2 children’s homes to provide better support. Includes testing a ‘staying close’ approach to supporting care leavers up to age 21: Evaluation Summary

Priory Education Services working with Suffolk Council (£1m) to pilot a new type of residential home (an approach that spans three regulatory regimes). It would provide a blueprint for similar homes that would combine mental health treatment with a small home setting and better help adolescents and families through a mental health crisis to avoid family breakdown and long-term care placements: Evaluation Summary

Sefton Council (£1.1m) to create a single, integrated service for adolescents on the edge of care – aged 12-25 – with a particular focus on those young people at significant risk of gang involvement, child sexual exploitation, going missing and youth crime: Evaluation Summary

St Christopher’s Fellowship (£1.19m) to develop a flexible, high-supervision model of accommodation in London for looked-after girls at risk of sexual exploitation, gang membership and substance misuse who might otherwise be placed in secure children’s homes on welfare grounds: Evaluation Summary

Stoke-on-Trent Council (£588k) to develop ‘the house project’, a housing co-operative that is led by young care leavers using homes owned by the council. The project will provide young people with the right skills to manage their own home and live in the co-operative aiming to reduce long term homelessness, youth offending and anti-social behaviour: Evaluation Summary

Surrey Council (£729k) to provide a new overnight respite service, extending their day service (HOPE) out of hours. This will better respond to the mental health and emotional needs of adolescents (11-18yrs) during a crisis: Evaluation Summary

The Compass Centre (£1.05m) to extend their approach to provide training and support to foster carers and to the families of the children they support. This would create a ‘virtual residential school’ where the approach and the support would be consistent both at school and at home: Evaluation Summary

The Fostering Network (£1.6m) to import and adapt the successful mockingbird family model of fostering from the US to the UK: Evaluation Summary

The National Implementation Service (£4.1m) to hot-house, test and build the sustainability of evidence-based interventions in the UK – including multi-systemic therapy, KEEP (a training programme for foster carers) and ResULT (a therapeutic training programme for residential care staff): Evaluation Summary

The North London Children’s Efficiency Programme (£374k) to use a short term (12 week) residential setting to provide intensive therapeutic support to young people coming into care across five London boroughs. Regional collaboration/commissioning could lead to a regional placements team and a more sustainable service: Evaluation Summary

Tri-Borough Alternative Provision Trust (£1.3 million) to extend its approach to offer a short-term residence – combining educational support and counselling to young people from the Triborough area at risk of entering care: Evaluation Summary

West Sussex County Council (350k) to improve and expand their current regional commissioning arrangements to include care placements for looked after children by developing an outcomes based framework for commissioning: Evaluation Summary

Wigan Council and CCG (£920k) to establish a social care and CAMHS service to provide crisis and step-down support for young people in or at risk of entering care with significant mental health problems: Evaluation Summary

Other priorities in children’s social care.

Barnardo’s and the LGA (£2.14m) to establish a female genital mutilation prevention hub to prevent, protect and treat girls and women affected by FGM: Evaluation Summary

Coram (£600k) to deliver data-led and practice-based improvements to local authorities’ adoption services including development of a new diagnostic tool for special guardianship orders and creation of a permanence improvement academy: Evaluation Summary

Cornerstone (£520k) to test a wraparound adoption service including community recruitment, pre and post adoption mentoring and therapeutic parenting training in four local authorities (LAs) in the South East: Evaluation Summary

Daybreak (£728k) to test out a mandatory offer of family group conferences to families who are on the brink of court proceedings for child protection – working with Southwark and Wiltshire councils: Evaluation Summary

Match Fostercare (£781k) to take on delegated statutory social work responsibilities for children in foster care from several local authorities, to reduce duplication and bureaucracy and provide a better service to children: Evaluation Summary

Mayor’s Office of Policing and Crime MOPAC (£558k) to identify and protect children from Female Genital Mutilation across 5 London Boroughs: Evaluation Summary

NSPCC (£1m) to introduce the New Orleans intervention model in South London. To transform delivery and joint commissioning in children’s social work and CAMHS teams in relation to children aged 0 to 5 years who are in foster care due to maltreatment: Evaluation Summary

NSPCC and SCIE (£1.2m) – project to develop and test better use of learning from serious case reviews (SCRs), and to improve the quality of SCRs, including via a pilot project involving the central commissioning of SCRs: Evaluation Summary

Pause – (£4.2m) to extend a successful pilot programme from Hackney in 7 local authority areas, which provides therapeutic, behavioural and practical interventions to women who have had multiple children taken into care following repeat pregnancies: Evaluation Summary

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council (£1.09m) to provide better designed, more culturally sensitive and intensive family and social care support to children and families in two distinct communities (Pakistani-Mirpuri and Army Service Families): Evaluation Summary

Safe Families for Children (£2.35m) – to extend an early intervention/edge of care pilot programme from the USA in which volunteers provide respite care for families during times of crisis, as well as mentoring and supporting parents who are in difficulty: Evaluation Summary

Sheffield and South Yorkshire Councils (£1.2m) to develop a sub-regional delivery model for young people experiencing or at risk of child sexual exploitation. This will include recruitment, development and support of specialist foster carers to provide safe placements for young people across South Yorkshire: Evaluation Summary

Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation (£3.28m) to create a national FDAC (family drug and alcohol court) development unit testing out the model in different contexts in 8 new local family justice boards across 11 local authority areas with a view to creating a sustainable long-term funding model for future FDACs across the country: Evaluation Summary

The Council for Disabled Children (£812k) to develop and test new assessment models for disabled children in need of social care services, to improve the experience and outcomes for these young people: Evaluation Summary

University of Kent (£592k) to explore the current and potential role of technology in social work and define how avatar technology could relate to vulnerable children and young people by providing support and reinforcing their engagement with the social care system: Evaluation Summary

Wigan and Rochdale Councils (£956k) to find alternatives to high cost and secure accommodation for victims of, or those at risk of, child sexual exploitation, to improve outcomes for those young people and their families. To develop and deliver a research programme and pilot which involves testing a new hub and spoke social care service model with 30 young people in Wigan and Rochdale, with the intention of scaling this up across Greater Manchester local authorities. Evaluation Summary

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