Learning from our direct work with children and families

Overview

Insight and evidence about what works in child protection

Many services that we provide to children and families go through a rigorous cycle of development, delivery and testing. This teaches us about what works in safeguarding and child protection - and what doesn't.

We use this insight to improve our existing services and to help us develop new approaches. We then keep developing, delivering and testing this work in a process of continuous learning.

We also share what we learn with others and support them to use this learning to increase the impact of their own work with children and families.

Deliver our services in your area

We have scaled many of our services to help you meet the needs of children and families in your local area.

We partner with local organisations and support them in adopting, implementing and delivering our services.

> Find out how we can help you deliver evidence-based services in your local area

Early years

Early years

Our early years work spans from peri- and antenatal programmes to services that support families with infants and young children up to the age of 5 years.

Baby Steps

A perinatal education programme designed to support parents during pregnancy and in the weeks after birth. 

Baby Steps was evaluated using a variety of data, looking at the experiences of parents and measuring the service's effect on parental mental health and relationships.

Read the evaluation reports for Baby Steps:

> The first year of the service: parents' perspectives

> In a prison context

> Perspectives of parents from a minority ethnic background

> Pre- and post-measures study

> Implementation evaluation

Coping with Crying

A film that health professionals can show to new and expectant parents, to help them learn how best to respond when their baby is crying.

Coping with Crying helps mums and dads prepare for parenthood and gives practical advice. Our evaluation found encouraging evidence that the film helps parents react in a positive way when their baby is crying.

> Read the full evaluation report

Deliver Coping with Crying in your area

We have put together an online training package to help professionals use Coping with Crying with new parents.

"A resource to enable parents to fully understand how a baby's cry can impact them and strategies they can use to manage this."

Coping with Crying training participant

> Find out more about delivering Coping with Crying

Infant and Family Teams

The Infant and Family Teams (IFT) help social workers and judges decide whether a child on a care plan should live with their birth family or enter care permanently. It uses an adapted version of the New Orleans Intervention Model.

We are currently delivering this service in two local areas. We have published two evaluations and are carrying out a randomised controlled trial (RCT).

> Read the process evaluation of Glasgow Infant and Family Teams (GIFT)

> Read the summary report of learning from GIFT

> Find out more about Infant and Family Teams

Minding the Baby

A home-visiting programme that aims to help first-time mothers develop a positive relationship and secure bond with their baby as well as recognise and respond to their baby's needs. It was designed for mothers aged 19 and under or between 20 and 25-years-old and receiving means-tested benefits.

The findings from our qualitative evaluation and randomised controlled trial (RCT) have helped us continue to develop our early years services.

> Read the report from the initial qualitative evaluation

> Read the evaluation report from our RCT

Pregnancy in Mind

An ante-natal programme supporting parents who are at risk of, or experiencing, mild to moderate anxiety and depression during pregnancy.

We are currently delivering this service in local areas and have published two evaluations.

> Read the process evaluation

> Read the COVID-19 virtual delivery evaluation

> Learn more about Pregnancy in Mind

Other programmes

You may also be interested in the early years work we have done through our SafeCare service on the next section about neglect and Steps to Safety for domestic abuse under children and families at risk.

Neglect

Neglect

Practitioners play a key role in identifying neglect, providing early help and empowering parents to care for their families.

But neglect can be difficult to assess as it has a high threshold for recognition and assessment can be subjective.

Evidence-Based Decisions

This service was designed as an assessment tool to help local authority social workers to evaluate parents' abilities to look after their children, when there are serious concerns about the children's wellbeing.

The evaluation found that the Evidence-Based Decisions review can play a role in improving evidence, understanding and helping with decision making.

> Read the full evaluation report

Graded Care Profile 2 (GCP2)

A tool to help professionals understand how well a child is being cared for, where there are concerns about neglect. Graded Care Profile (GCP) was originally developed in 1995. Following an evaluation, we worked with the tool's developer, Dr Srivastava, to develop a more user-friendly and comprehensive version of the tool called GCP2.

> Read the evaluation report of GCP

> Read the evaluation report of GCP2

Deliver GCP2 in your local area

We have helped support over 80 local areas to use GCP2 across the UK. We will help you make GCP2 a success by being available every step of the way to provide you with the support and advice you need to effectively implement the tool in your local area.

"The support, advice and enthusiasm from the NSPCC team around implementing [GCP2] is second to none. A collegiate approach which allows us to avoid potential challenges and troubleshoot difficulties."

Commissioner 

> Read the implementation evaluation of GCP2

> Find out more about delivering GCP2 in your area

Improving Parenting, Improving Practice

This service tested two different ways of reducing neglect by helping parents to develop a better bond with their child and understand what they need.

  • Video Interaction Guidance (VIG) which showed parents film clips of themselves interacting with their children to show them their strengths, to build their confidence and encourage them to think about how they respond to their child.
  • Positive Parenting Programme (Pathways Triple P) which worked with families through home visits to help them set and achieve a series of parenting goals.

Our evaluations were the first to test the effectiveness of these methods in the UK.

> Read the evaluation of Video Interaction Guidance (VIG)

> Read the evaluation of the Pathways Triple P programme

SafeCare

A preventative programme that worked with parents of children under 6-years-old who had experienced significant harm through neglect. SafeCare aimed to offer practical support to help parents develop parenting skills and focus on the needs of their child.

Our evaluation supports existing evidence that SafeCare can improve parenting skills.

> Read the evaluation report

Other programmes

You may also be interested in the Infant and Family Teams under early years.

Children and families at risk

Children and families at risk

Whether focused on education interventions or home-visits, our services have helped support parents experiencing mental ill health or drug and alcohol problems as well as families living with domestic abuse. 

Caring Dads: Safer Children

This programme was designed to use a man's role as a father to motivate them to change their behaviour and reduce the risk of further harm to their children because of their abusive or violent behaviour.

Few studies of programmes aimed at violent fathers or male perpetrators or domestic abuse have examined whether outcomes for children improve when their violent father attends a programme. The evaluation of Caring Dads: Safer Children aimed to fill this gap in knowledge.

> Read the full evaluation report

We also created a service delivery report. This report shares our learning from process evaluation and delivering the Caring Dads: Safer Children programme.

> Read the service delivery report

Domestic Abuse Recovering Together (DART)

A group work programme to support mothers and children who have experienced domestic abuse. The service is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on Domestic violence and abuse: multi-agency working (NICE, 2014)1.

We are currently delivering this service in local areas. We evaluated our delivery of DART looking at the outcomes for children and mothers who attended the service.

> Read the evaluation report

> Find out more about how we deliver DART

Deliver DART in your local area

We also support organisations to deliver DART themselves through our scale-up service. We have published evaluations on how effectively we support other organisations to implement DART and how successful the service can be when delivered by other organisations.

> Read the implementation evaluation

> Read the impact evaluation

> Find out how we can help you to deliver DART

Face to Face

A confidential service that offered support to all children and young people aged 5 to 18-years-old who are in care or on the edge of care. Face to Face aimed to identify and find solutions to issues that affect the young person’s life, impact on their emotional wellbeing or place them at risk.

The evaluation of Face to Face measured the change in wellbeing for children and young people from the beginning to the end of the service, as well as three months after finishing.

> Read the evaluation report

Using this approach in your area

We have produced a solution-focused practice toolkit of resources for practitioners who want to use this approach to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.

> Find out more about the Solution-focused practice toolkit

We have also produced an implementation guide for those who are interested in setting up a service like Face to Face.

> Read the implementation guide

Family SMILES and Young SMILES

Family SMILES was developed to help children whose parents or carers faced mental health problems to build self-esteem, resilience and life skills. It worked with children aged 8 to 14-years-old with the aim of giving them the confidence to talk about their experiences with other young people who faced similar situations.

Using what we learnt from the evaluation of Family SMILES, we developed Young SMILES.

Young SMILES aimed to help families affected by mental health problems to understand their mental health and improve their wellbeing.

> Read the evaluation report

Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP)

An intensive intervention that supported children whose parents misuse drugs or alcohol. Designed for children aged 5 to 12-years-old, this service aimed to reduce the negative impact of parental alcohol and drug misuse on children and ensure they were kept safe.

The evaluation of FEDUP looked at the changes experienced by children and parents who took part, the importance of parental engagement and whether change was sustained.

> Read the evaluation report

Parents Under Pressure

A home-visit service that supported parents on a drug or alcohol treatment programme. Designed for parents of children under 8-years-old, Parents Under Pressure taught parenting skills and helped mums and dads improve their relationship with their children.

We carried out two evaluations to find out more about the needs of families who took part in Parents Under Pressure and the impact the programme had. Our findings suggest that with the right support, parents facing challenges including substance misuse can make positive changes.

> Read the evaluation reports

Steps to Safety

An early-intervention programme that helped families living with domestic abuse. Steps to Safety aimed to help parents with young children reduce stress, react calmly to conflict and respond sensitively to their children.

We piloted this service to see if it could help parents create a safer and more stable future for their children. We also undertook a feasibility study. Our findings highlight the complexity of balancing safe assessments with parental engagement.

> Read the feasibility study report

> Listen to our podcast episode detailing further outcomes from the study

Together for Childhood

A place-based approach that brings local partners and families together to make our communities safer for children. Together for Childhood aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in families facing adversity, and to prevent child sexual abuse and support children and their families.

This services is currently being delivered with local partners in four areas. We have developed a multi-stranded evaluation which covers process, outcomes and local evaluation.

> Read our implementation evaluation report

> Read the design principles evaluation

> Read the Transformative Evaluation

> Find out more about Together for Childhood

References

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2014) Domestic violence and abuse: multi-agency working. Public health guideline PH50. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Sexual abuse and exploitation

Sexual abuse and exploitation

Child sexual abuse and exploitation is a key focus for our direct work with children and families.

Through our programmes, we have provided education and risk assessment services as well as direct therapeutic work.

Assessing the Risk, Protecting the Child

This service assessed men who pose a sexual risk to children and who aren’t in the criminal justice system. Assessing the Risk, Protecting the Child worked with the whole family, evaluating their safety and helping professionals make decisions about the actions needed to protect them.

Practitioners, referrers and service users all gave us feedback on their experience of the service. The final evaluation integrates this with findings from the already published qualitative evaluation and tracking data of what happens after the assessments are completed.

> Read the final evaluation report 

InCtrl

InCtrl aims to help protect children and young people from technology-assisted child sexual abuse (TA-CSA).

This service is currently being delivered by us in local areas. Our implementation evaluation looked at the feasibility of initial pilot of InCtrl and helped us to develop the current service.

> Read the implementation evaluation report

> Find out more about InCtrl

Letting the Future In (LTFI)

Letting the Future In provides direct therapeutic support to help children and young people who have experienced sexual abuse rebuild their lives. 

This service is currently being delivered by us in local areas. Our evaluation included qualitative case studies and the largest multi-site randomised controlled trial (RCT) for a sexual-abuse intervention in the world and the service is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline on child abuse and neglect (NICE, 2017)1.

> Read the evaluation report

> Find out more about Letting the Future In

Deliver LTFI in your local area

We support organisations to deliver Letting the Future In themselves through our scale-up service.

> Find out how we can help you to deliver LTFI

Protect and Respect

This service offered two different services for children and young people aged 11 to 19 who either needed support to learn about healthy relationships or who may have experienced exploitation:

  • awareness raising group work providing a safe and reflective space to learn about healthy relationships and consent
  • a support and protection service offering tailored to support for a child and their parent or carer if there are concerns that a child or young person is experiencing exploitation.

The evaluation of Protect and Respect gave us further insight into what works in supporting children who have experienced or are at risk of sexual exploitation. 

> Read the evaluation report

Together for Childhood

A place-based approach that brings local partners and families together to make our communities safer for children. Together for Childhood aims to prevent child abuse and neglect in families facing adversity, and to prevent child sexual abuse and support children and their families.

This services is currently being delivered with local partners in four areas. We have developed a multi-stranded evaluation which covers process, outcomes and local evaluation.

> Read our implementation evaluation report

> Read the design principles evaluation

> Read the Transformative Evaluation

> Find out more about Together for Childhood

Turn the Page

This service used the Change for Good manual to help boys aged 12 to 18 overcome feelings that led to them displaying harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). 

Our evaluation found promising evidence that Turn the Page can help some young people understand and manage their own sexual behaviour. Evidence also shows the Change for Good manual allows practitioners tailor the programme to each young person’s individual needs.

> Read the final evaluation report

To improve the evidence base in this area, we carried out research into specific areas. We profiled the characteristics of children under 12, children with a learning difficulty and girls who took part in Turn the Page. This enabled us to learn more about how to support these groups of children appropriately.

> Read our summary report

Women as Protectors

This service was designed as an education programme to help mothers and carers who are in contact with a man who poses a risk of sexual harm to children to understand the ongoing risks that the man poses to their family. The service uses group work, individual assessments and one-to-one mentoring support. The women's children are also offered safety awareness sessions.

After completing the programme, women were in a stronger position to provide a safe environment for their children and mitigate the risk posed by an unsafe man.

> Read the evaluation report

Other programmes

See also our National Clinical Assessment and Treatment Service (NCATS) providing support when there are concerns about harmful sexual behaviour (HSB).

References

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2017) Child abuse and neglect: NICE guidance (PDF). London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).