Evaluation and summary reports for the Children's Social Care Innovation Programme (CSCIP) grouped by theme.
The Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme (CSCIP) was launched in 2014 to test and share effective ways of supporting vulnerable children and young people who need help from children’s social care services. The programme has supported 98 projects through £200 million of investment.
About the programme
The programme focused on:
- improving life chances for children who receive help from the social care system
- encouraging innovation by experimenting and replicating successful new approaches
- creating better incentives for innovation and ways of sharing what works
- creating a strong evidence base
- getting better value across the children’s social care sector
Round 1 took place between 2014 and 2016. Local authorities were asked to submit applications rethinking:
- children’s social work (improving the quality and impact of children’s social work)
- support for adolescents in, or on the edge of, care (improving the quality and impact of services)
Round 2 took place between 2016 and 2020. It looked to build on the successful innovations found in round 1 (known as scale and spread).
Round 3 (the targeted funding opportunity) took place between 2017 and 2020. We asked for applications in 4 policy areas where there was a need to quickly develop and test new approaches. These 4 areas were set out in the Department for Education’s (DfE) policy paper Putting children first: vision for children’s social care.
DfE funded projects across local authorities and public sector organisations to develop and test innovations that would help children’s social work practitioners and leaders.
There is athat includes name, location, summary and funding amount.
Partners in Practice
Some of the local authorities that set up round 1 projects which showed the best impact have gone on to become Partners in Practice. The Partners in Practice programme is running alongside the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme.
It aims to be a genuine partnership between local and central government by bringing together the best practitioners and leaders in children’s social care to improve the system.
Through the programme the Partners in Practice are:
- continuing to demonstrate what works and encourage innovation to create understanding of the conditions needed for excellent practice to flourish
- encouraging sector led improvement through peer support to authorities who need to improve
- supporting DfE to shape and test policy on wider programmes and reform
You can view overall evaluations of Partners in Practice in:
You can also view individual evaluations for:
The second round of Partners in Practice have not been individually evaluated. These are:
- Doncaster Children’s Services Trust
- Essex County Council
- Camden London Borough Council
- Tyneside Alliance (North Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Council in partnership)
- Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
The Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme aims to enable more children to stay at home in stable family environments so that fewer children need to be taken in to care. The programme is investing £84 million over 5 years to improve services in 18 local authorities that have high or rising numbers of children in care.
These local authorities will be supported to embed one of 3 models, which have the most promising evidence from the innovation programme of safely reducing the number of children being taken into care. These models are:
- Family Valued
- Family Safeguarding
- No Wrong Door
The Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme adds to the learning so far from DfE’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme. It has provided over £17 million to enable 45 local authorities to adapt one of 3 of the most successful targeted innovation programme projects. These were projects that have the strongest evidence of successfully keeping families together.
These projects are:
- family drug and alcohol courts supported by the Centre for Justice Innovation
- a model of family group conferencing supported by Daybreak
- the Mockingbird family model supported by The Fostering Network
DfE commissioned independent research organisations to evaluate projects to understand what has and has not worked and why. Rees Centre and University of Oxford co-ordinated the evaluation of round 1 and Opcit Research co-ordinated the evaluation of rounds 2 and 3.
DfE oversaw this process through the evaluation advisory board. Board members included the chief social worker, representatives from the What Works Centre incubator, as well as senior DfE officials.
The individual project evaluation reports have been grouped by theme on this page. Practitioners and leaders can find examples of best practice and evidence of what has worked.
Overarching evaluations have been published in:
- round 1, Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme: final evaluation report
- round 2 and 3, Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme: final evaluation report
Other overall evaluations are published on University of Oxford’s website including methods for testing new approaches and conditions needed for innovation.
Adolescents facing complex risks
Achieving Change Together (ACT)
A new approach to safeguarding young people at risk of exploitation using a complex safeguarding framework.
B Positive Pathways
Combining 4 tried and tested models (No Wrong Door, Mockingbird, Signs of Safety and PACE) into an integrated support service.
Community Adolescent Service
A single, integrated service to support young people at risk of gang involvement, child sexual exploitation and youth crime.
Contextual Safeguarding Pilot
A new approach to understanding and responding to young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their home environment.
Family and Adolescent Support Hub (FASH)
A multidisciplinary rapid reaction team to support young people on the edge of care using bespoke interventions for the whole family.
A unified, authority wide approach for adolescents including dedicated multi agency teams, integrated attachment theory and restorative practice.
A personalised intervention for children who have had multiple moves combining a range of placement options with intensive coaching support.
No Wrong Door
An integrated service for young people facing complex risks with 2 hubs providing a range of accommodation, services and outreach support.
Multi agency support for 16 to 19 year olds at risk of homelessness including flexible accommodation options and personalised support.
Alternative delivery and finance models
Children’s Services Transformation Programme
Developing an alternative delivery model for children’s services, embedding signs of safety to ensure a ‘team around the child’ approach.
This project ended and has no evaluation.
A joint venture for regional children’s social work across 14 councils to create a shared workforce development infrastructure.
Making Integration Happen
Establishing a council owned delivery model to conduct all statutory duties for children’s education, community health and social care.
Newham Delivery for Children
Creating an independent trust, decoupling commissioning and delivery across early help, care leaving, safeguarding, special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision and social care.
This project ended and has no evaluation.
North London Commissioning
A sub regional approach to commission 35 residential placements for young people in north east London, testing the use of block provider contracts.
North of Tyne Collaboration
Collaboration across the North of Tyne area, including health services, to improve practice, services and outcomes for children and young people.
Social Work Innovation Fund Torbay (SWIFT)
Restructuring children’s services to an integrated care organisation, including early help hubs and pooled budgets with adults’ social care.
This project ended and has no evaluation.
South East Together Dynamic Purchasing System
A regional dynamic purchasing system to support commissioning of placements in independent special schools and children’s homes.
Care leavers and staying close
Care Leavers Partnership
A co-designed, needs led model of support for care leavers.
Elm House (Staying Close, North Tyneside)
Smoothing the transition to independent living with semi independent accommodation opposite an existing residential home.
Local Area Co-ordination for Care Leavers
Easing the transition for care leavers into secure community placements and positive living, work, learning and social situations.
Staying Close (Portsmouth)
Developing accommodation adjacent to an existing residential unit and a separate 5 bed house to accommodate care leavers.
Staying Close (St Christopher’s)
Providing semi independent accommodation for care leavers in Ealing and Hounslow and opportunities for young people to return to their children’s home.
Staying Close (Bristol)
A range of staying close options for children living in and leaving children’s homes to support the transition to independent living and adult services.
Staying Close (North east Lincolnshire)
An integrated pathway for care leavers including a staying close contract, partnership working, family group conferencing and sibling style peer support.
Staying Close, Staying Connected
Offering 70 care leavers in Norfolk and East Cambridgeshire the option to stay close to their children’s home by living in ‘moving on’ houses.
Staying Close, Leaving Care Doesn’t Mean Care Leaves You (Suffolk)
A support package to young people in 4 of Suffolk’s local authority residential care homes and 3 private sector care homes.
Shared Lives Care Leavers
An alternative to foster care in 8 local authorities for young people with ongoing social care needs by supporting them to move to a ‘shared lives’ home from the age of 16.
Staying Close (Fair Ways)
A secure, 4-year accommodation pathway for young people making a transition from residential care.
The House Project
Supporting young people who are leaving care in Stoke-on-Trent and Warwickshire to work together to refurbish their own future homes.
Child sexual exploitation or abuse
Aycliffe Secure Centre
A specialist secure therapeutic environment for young people suffering trauma as a result of child sexual exploitation.
Two specially adapted children’s homes for girls identified as at risk of sexual exploitation with a focus on social pedagogy and relational security.
South Yorkshire Empower and Protect
A community based, sub regional delivery model for young people at risk of child sexual exploitation.
Edge of care and children in need
A multi agency support team for adolescents working alongside advanced in house foster carers.
Developing a virtual residential school bespoke therapeutic education model for children in and on the edge of care.
Coventry Children in Need
Adopting and adapting the FACT22 model of targeted support to children in need using cross sector working and personalised interventions.
Creating Strong Communities
A safer communities model based on family group conferencing, signs of safety, restorative practice and outcomes based accountability.
Face to Face Pathways
A multi agency predictive model of care for 11 to 24 year olds including care leaving support, systemic fostering units and pathway co-ordinators.
Family Group Conferencing
A new model of family group conference for all families on the brink of court proceedings aiming to place children within their family network.
Families Achieving Change Together
Supporting children assessed as being a child in need focusing on domestic abuse, parental mental ill-health and substance abuse.
Right Balance for Families
Multi agency support for children in need aged 10 to 13 focusing on mitigating harm during the transition into early adolescence.
Safe Families for Children
Keeping more young people at home through early intervention, edge of care provision and volunteer led respite care for families during times of crisis.
Improving outcomes for young people on the edge of care or custody in Barnet, Harrow and Hounslow through functional family and multisystemic therapy.
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
FGM Early Intervention Model
Placing specialist FGM workers within midwifery services in 5 London boroughs to provide information, emotional support and practical care.
National FGM Centre
Establishing the National FGM Centre to directly support girls and families and to share learning on best practice with local authorities across England.
Fostering and adoption
Developing and testing the AdOpt parenting programme to build the skills of adoptive parents.
Better by Design
Bringing young people in ‘out of borough’ residential care back to local foster carers in the London boroughs of Richmond and Kingston upon Thames.
Cornerstone Adoption Support Programme
Adopting and adapting the FACT22 model of targeted support to children in need, using cross sector working and personalised interventions.
Permanent Improvement project
Data led, practice based improvement framework, focused on permanency and securing adoption and long term foster placements more quickly.
Supporting Long Term Foster Placements
Taking on delegated statutory responsibilities for children in foster care in Stoke-on-Trent, combining corporate parenting and supervisory responsibilities.
TACT Peterborough Permanency Service
Securing permanency for young people in care through asset based assessment and training to develop foster carers’ confidence and skills.
Looked after children
Children Looked After Project
Developing outcomes based commissioning and standardising best practice for looked after children across 8 London boroughs.
New Orleans Intervention Model
An infant mental health approach to improve outcomes for babies and young children in foster care.
North London Children’s Efficiency Programme
A regional placements team and joint commissioning of short term residential units to provide intensive therapeutic support to young people at risk.
Mockingbird Family Model
An extended family hub model of foster care in 10 local authorities providing short breaks, peer support, joint planning and training, and social activities.
Young people’s mental health
Establishing a residential home for young people with mental ill-health.
Cambridge Multisystemic Therapy Services
Spinning out Cambridge’s multisystemic therapy service for adolescents into a staff run mutual.
Multisystemic Therapy for Family Integrated Transitions
Evaluating the use of multisystemic therapy (MST) in Northamptonshire and Leeds to support young people returning home to their family or long term carers.
Testing the effectiveness of multisystemic therapy for young people with problem sexual behaviour.
Specialist Health and Resilient Environment (SHARE)
Crisis and step down support for young people with significant mental health issues, combining social care, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), specialist foster and residential care.
Exploring how technology can support young people in care
A consortium of technologists, designers and academics exploring how digital tools can support young people to cope with trauma.
Extended HOPE Service
An overnight respite service and out of hours provision for 11 to 18 year olds in the early stages of emotional and mental health difficulties.
Support for parents facing complex risks
A redesign of Hertfordshire services to the most at risk families. New multidisciplinary family safeguarding teams brought children’s social workers and specialists in adult mental health together to work closely with schools and better support families.
In round 2, this whole system approach scaled across Hertfordshire, Luton, Peterborough, Bracknell Forest and West Berkshire.
Culturally Attuned Family Support
Early help to better match support for army service families and Pakistani-Mirpuri families.
A multidisciplinary approach to tackling domestic abuse, incorporating systemic and therapeutic work with families, children and schools.
A multidisciplinary approach to supporting families in which there has been domestic abuse, including conflict between children and their parents.
Creating Space for Change
Expanding the Pause intervention to an additional 16 areas of England, providing intensive support to women at risk of repeat removals of their children.
Family Drug and Alcohol Courts
Helping parents involved in court based care proceedings to overcome the substance misuse that has put their children at risk of serious harm.
Embedding restorative practice across services including family group conferencing, domestic violence prevention and pre-birth assessment.
A whole community response to domestic violence that supports perpetrators to change their behaviour.
Support for young people at high risk of becoming pregnant or experiencing the removal of a child.
Building My Future
An intensive, therapeutic short break service for young people who have learning difficulties, autism or a mental health condition.
Triborough alternative provision (TBAP) Residence
A residential educational setting outside London to support young people at TBAP academies who are in or on the edge of care or the youth justice system.
Social work systems and practice
Doing What Counts: Measuring What Matters
A motivational social work model built on motivational interviewing and assessing the quality of practice on the outcomes that matter to families.
Focus on Practice
A comprehensive skills development package incorporating systemic practice, signs of safety, motivational interviewing and parenting programmes.
A leadership development programme for first tier line managers in children’s social care.
Learning Into Practice
Improving the quality and enabling better use of learning from serious case reviews.
Scaling and Deepening the Reclaiming Social Work Model
Implementing the Reclaiming Social Work approach in 5 local authorities (Derbyshire, Buckinghamshire, Harrow, Hull, and Southwark), with ‘keeping families together’ units for teenagers on the edge of care.
Signs of Safety
Implementing signs of safety as a whole system approach in 10 local authorities to allow practitioners to think critically and analyse information.
Establishing 10 integrated, mixed skill social work teams using reflective and holistic practice to work with families with the most complex needs.
Using data led, needs based segmenting to create specialist social work units focused on families with similar support needs.
Stockport Family Model
Community based, cross agency social work teams linked closely with schools underpinned with restorative practice.
Active Agents for Change
A range of projects rethinking early intervention, child protection and care including co-located multi agency specialists.
Slough Children’s Services Trust Transformation Programme
A dynamic enhanced hub model of early help to children in need, including domestic abuse assessment, signs of safety and systemic practice.
Reinvigorating Social Work
An outcomes based practice model and accountability framework for social workers as part of Dorset’s ‘forward together for children’ initiative.
Young people with disabilities
Specialist placements and co-produced care planning to allow disabled young people from Hertfordshire and Staffordshire to transfer to local foster care from out of area placements.
Social Care Assessments for Disabled Children
An iterative, co-designed learning model in 5 local authorities (Cornwall, Bromley, Enfield, West Sussex and York) to develop and test streamlined, co-produced assessment models for disabled children and their families.
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