Research

We exist to collate, produce, and translate research about “What Works” in Children’s Social Care.

We use a variety of different methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, to conduct research that can be used by social workers, leaders in the sector and policymakers to support children and their families.

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  • 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 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 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 focussed on reducing the need for children to be in care
    Report

    Signs of Safety: Findings from a mixed-methods systematic review focussed 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 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 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 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 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: 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 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 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 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 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) will be conducting a randomised controlled trial with 6 Local Authorities (LAs) in England of Schwartz Rounds, a […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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, […]