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What Works for Children’s Social Care and Early Intervention Foundation to merge

Josh MacAlister, previously Chair of the Care Review, has been appointed Executive Chair of the new organisation that will be formed through merging the two charities.

20/10/22

What Works for Children’s Social Care and Early Intervention Foundation to merge

The new merged organisation – which will operate initially under the working name of What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care – will bring together the two What Works Centres to create a single centre covering the full range of support for children and families from preventative approaches, early intervention and targeted support for those at risk of poor outcomes, through to support for children with a social worker, children in care and care leavers.

The decision to merge was announced by the two boards of trustees in July 2022, with this week’s announcement that the new organisation will be led by Josh MacAlister as Executive Chair and Dr Jo Casebourne as CEO (pictured above).

Josh MacAlister will take up his post having previously founded the social work fast-track training programme Frontline, as well as co-founding the youth offending organisation SHiFT, and more recently having chaired the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care.

Dr Jo Casebourne has been chief executive of the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) since August 2017, following 25 years leading research on how government and public services can best support children and families. Prior to joining EIF, she worked at the Institute for Government, Nesta and the Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion.

In a statement, What Works CSC said it is “a unique and exciting opportunity to create a bold and ambitious organisation that influences the policymakers, service leaders and practitioners who can turn evidence into action.”

“As a strong, independent and authoritative What Works centre, the new charity will generate much-needed new evidence on how best to support children and families and ensure that this evidence is used to create real-world impact.”

“The executive chair and CEO will work together over the coming months to establish a bold vision and strategy for the new organisation, lead the staff teams through the merger process, and build on the strong working relationships that EIF and What Works for Children’s Social Care have forged with organisations and stakeholders across the sector.”

Josh MacAlister, Executive Chair of What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care, said it was a “great privilege” and a “huge opportunity” to take up the role.

“Very many important decisions about the new centre, its strategic priorities and its work lie ahead. I am looking forward to working with partners across early intervention and children’s social care to make sure the new organisation serves and supports professionals and services providing help to children and families, at a national and local level.

“EIF and What Works for Children’s Social Care have done incredible work over many years to promote and embed the role of research and evidence in national policy and in the planning and delivery of services for children and families – a mission that I am certain the new centre will continue and expand.”

Dr Jo Casebourne added that the organisation would continue to work closely with leaders and decision-makers across national and local government and wider public services to generate and share evidence.

“I know there is a firm commitment across the early intervention and children’s social care community to ensure that the system makes a difference for children, and we have an exciting opportunity to help shape and support that wider system as it evolves.

“As a trusted and independent source of information and guidance for practitioners, and a critical friend to those who are making crucial decisions about investments, policies and programmes, we will work to ensure that the lessons from evidence and research are an essential part of how support for families and children is designed and implemented.”

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