New program to test effect of early intervention in family support on youth violence

The Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) and Comic Relief set out plans to spend up to £10 million to find out how early investment in family support programmes can keep children safe from involvement in violence later in their lives.

17/08/21

New program to test effect of early intervention in family support on youth violence

A new program is set to find out how youth violence can be tackled by early investment in family support programmes.

The announcement follows a four-month consultation with over 450 people working to keep children safe – including social workers teachers, community and youth workers, and police officers.

Receiving funding through Comic Relief, the program looks to work with children and young people with lived or near-experience of violence to ask what they wanted to see funded. The charities say the knowledge of young people with these experiences, alongside a review of the evidence, has set the direction for this grant round.

“We’re really excited that this programme has been co-designed with young people, they have used their experiences and knowledge and identified the services they would like to see delivered, alongside advice from expert key workers,” said Samir Patel, Chief Executive, Comic Relief. “Everyone deserves the best start in life, and I hope these new programmes and outreach services will help transform the lives of thousands of people.”

They say that evidence showed that to prevent violence, earlier intervention was required, with professionals providing support to children where there are challenges like conflict or domestic abuse, alcohol or substance misuse or where other family members are involved in crime.

The funding will focus on parenting programmes – including programmes for foster carers or people working with children in residential care – to help parents and their children develop positive behaviours and relationships. Also included will be family therapy interventions, including for children in foster care which offer whole families structured forms of therapy.

Further funding will also be available for programmes to reduce parental conflict, which are specifically designed to improve relationships between parents or carers; as well as domestic abuse interventions, which are specifically designed to prevent and reduce harm to children and adults.

The charities say that they aim to build knowledge of how best to support families and build an understanding of what works for children in the care system, who are “significantly overrepresented” in the youth justice system.

Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, said the pilot will try to get to grips with the issue of youth violence.


“It seems to me there is a growing understanding in society that supporting the family, and supporting it early, is the way to tackle a myriad of social problems. For me, this is particularly important because children tell me this themselves.

“In my Big Ask Survey this year, which captured responses from over half a million children from all backgrounds, the desire for a strong, loving family and the honest, authentic and articulate comments on what life is like when that’s not there, came through very powerfully. I’m confident we can make life better for our most disadvantaged children, but we need to be targeted, focussed, and we need to do it now.”

The Youth Endowment Fund’s grant round ‘A supportive home – helping families to overcome challenges’ opens for applications on 27 September 2021.

For more information, visit: youthendowmentfund.org.uk/grants/a-supportive-home

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