Funding announced for seven new projects in children’s social care

What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) has announced the seven projects that will receive nearly £2m in funding ‘to help improve outcomes for children and families and build an evidence base in children’s social care.’

The projects, that will be piloted over the following 18 months will be independently evaluated to ensure they will provide local authorities with evidence to support their practice.

The projects were funded under WWCSC’s first open funding call and were selected from more than 50 applications.

The independent evaluations will also be funded by WWCSC, who will:
- Work with local authorities and other delivery partners to help establish the conditions that are needed for success,
- Understand the way that programmes are implemented,
- Find out how social workers and families react to them, and
- Attempt to establish robust evidence of the impacts of interventions.

The successful projects have been named as:
1) Lighthouse Parenting Programme, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust – Working therapeutically with parents whose children are at risk of maltreatment to improve outcomes for families with children on a child protection plan or in pre-proceedings. Parents will undertake group and individual sessions adapted from the Mentalisation Based Treatment (MBT) model.
2) Creative Life Story Work, Blue Cabin – Improving Life Story Work for care experienced children and young people by implementing a new creative approach that consists of group work sessions facilitated by artists, 1:1 direct work with social workers and therapeutic life story work. After a successful launch in South Tyneside this is now rolled out to two new local authorities – Darlington and Gateshead.
3) Prevent-Protect-Repair, London Borough of Lewisham – Building the skills, confidence and capacity of children’s social care teams to work with families affected by domestic abuse that are on child protection plans. This includes raising awareness for domestic abuse, expanding training for social workers in key interventions, developing a best-practice toolkit and increasing access to specialist therapeutic support.
4) Creative Mentoring, The Mighty Creatives – Enabling personal development and upholding education engagement by providing one-to-one Creative Mentoring to children and young people in care as well as care leavers. Mentoring will take place at home, school or social care settings across 8 Local Authorities.
5) Putting Kitbag to Work, University of Sussex & International Futures Forum – Equipping social workers and carers with Kitbag – a toolkit previously trialled in schools – to promote socially and emotionally literate relationships between children, professionals and carers. The kit contains prompt cards (e.g. feelings card or presence card), timers, a talking stick, puppets, visualisation exercise, and calming oils and will be used in interactions with children and families.
6) No Recourse Early Action Model (NOREAM), University of Wolverhampton – Providing earlier and bespoke support to children and families with No Recourse to Public Funds who currently do not meet the threshold for Section 17 of the Children Act. This new model of practice based on multi-agency support will be first rolled-out in Hackney Borough Council.
7) We Can Talk About Domestic Abuse, Wirral MBC – Improving understanding, communication and experience between professionals and people affected by domestic abuse. Subject matter experts that have lived-experience of domestic abuse and social care will work alongside social workers and families to facilitate the process.

Becky Hare, Head of Service for Family Support and Safeguarding at London Borough of Lewisham, which will pilot the Prevent-Protect-Repair project, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our bid.

“We are really excited to have this opportunity to strengthen the way our workforce identifies abuse in all its forms, understands the impacts on children and families, and provides interventions in a trauma-informed and supportive way.”

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