About What Works CSC

Seeking better outcomes for children, young people and families

What we do

What Works for Children’s Social Care seeks better outcomes for children, young people and families by bringing the best available evidence to practitioners and other decision makers across the children’s social care sector.

Our research looks at the point of referral through to permanence, including adoption, care-leaver support and targeted early help. We focus on children’s social care practice in England and draw on and share learning at the international level.

We were commissioned by the Department for Education to work alongside CASCADE at Cardiff University. Engagement and co-design are central to our approach and we are working in close consultation with leaders, practitioners, children and young people, families and researchers across the sector to:

  • Identify gaps in the evidence, and create new evidence through trials and evaluations
  • Collate, synthesise and review existing evidence
  • Develop, test and publish tools and services that support the greater use of evidence and inform the design of the future Centre
  • Champion the application of robust standards of evidence in children’s social care research.

Meet the team

At What Works for Children’s Social Care we’re passionate about helping the children’s social care sector to foster a culture of evidence-based practice to achieve the very best outcomes for children and young people. Find about more about the team.

Evidence Ambassadors

The Evidence Ambassador role is to:

  • Act as ambassadors for our organisation by sharing messages about what works
  • Facilitate events in their local authority to share research evidence and promote discussions about evidence informed practice
  • Create enthusiasm and curiosity about using research evidence and its application to everyday practice

Our Stakeholders

Hearing different voices is vital, so we have different ways of listening to our stakeholders.

Hearing the voice of children and young people

We have recruited Young Advisors who have lived experience of children’s social care to advise the Senior Management Team and the Founding Board about young people’s views and needs. Although we don’t expect young people to access the Centre’s evidence, as the ultimate beneficiaries of better evidence, they should have a voice in the management of the organisation.

Engaging Children and Young People in our Research

We want to know what children and young people think about our research. We want to know what’s important to them and how research could help answer their questions. Where we are doing primary research in local authorities, we will engage with children and young people in those communities to hear their views and explain our findings.

Reaching Out to Social Workers

We spend a lot of time talking to social workers, and through our polling project we are able to go even further, by capturing the views of large numbers of social workers quickly and easily. We regularly send out polls to our panel of respondents to help us better understand social workers’ attitudes and behaviours regarding important issues that impact practice and shape research. We want to hear from as many people as possible, so if you are a registered social worker and would like to sign up for polling please use this link. If you have any questions about polling please email us at wwcpolling@whatworks.csc.org.uk


WWCSC’s work is overseen by our Board and a range of stakeholder panels and groups.

Our Supporters

What Works for Children’s Social Care was set up with support from:

Funded by the Department for Education

What Works for Children’s Social Care is part of the What Works Network

Sign up to find out more including how to get involved