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Policy Links

The evidence based interventions for looked after children, children on the edge of care or custody and their families are part of a much wider agenda both within government and across the sector to drive improvements in practice and service provision for vulnerable children and their families.

Linking with the wider policy work at the Department for Education

These interventions are making an important contribution to the wider policy agenda in terms of improvements in adoption, increased placement stability and more effective support for children on the edge of care or custody and their families.

For younger children who cannot return home or be cared for within their wider family networks, adoption may offer the stability they need to lead secure and successful lives. It is more likely that these children will experience success within their adoptive families if they are given the opportunity and support to address the significant difficulties which often result from a disrupted and unstable early family life.

It is essential that local authorities are able to offer a range of effective services to adoptive families to support stable and successful placements. We can now see a continuum of support developing for adoptive parents using

  • Multisystemic Therapy where long standing adoptions are at risk of breakdown during  adolescence
  • AdOpt as a prevention programme – in the early stages of an adoption placement
  • A specific adaptation of the Treatment Foster Care Oregon programme for very young children which will help adopters where a placement is at risk of disruption

Find out more about the Adoption Action Plan

For children in foster care, local authorities who have been using KEEP over a significant period are seeing improvements in placement stability and foster carer retention. Addressing the issues of placement instability for looked after children and young people and recruiting a broad range of foster carers to ensure that children and young people are placed with the right family who can meet their needs and promote their welfare are core to the Government’s Improving Fostering Services Programme. 

Find out more about the Improving Fostering Services Programme

Understanding the profile of local families and their needs is essential if local authorities are able to develop and commission the right services to meet these needs. Through involvement in the evidence based intervention programme, many local authorities and partner agencies are beginning to identify the gaps in their services and work towards addressing these in a cost effective and sustainable way. Some of these local authorities are seeing a reduction in the number of adolescents entering care due to the successful expansion of their Multisystemic Therapy programme which is supporting families to stay together and helping young people to reduce their offending and antisocial behaviour.

RESuLT is a new programme being developed for residential care staff and currently being trialled within two local authorities. The programme supports Government’s reform programme addressing the issues and challenges in providing high quality residential care for teenagers who may be vulnerable to sexual exploitation or regularly abscond in respond to difficulties.

Multisystemic Therapy and Treatment Foster Care Oregon are both proving effective in helping very vulnerable children return home to their families after a period in care. This is an area where research has already highlighted that effective planning and the right support for the whole family can massively improve the chances of successful return home.

There are also strong links between the MST programme and the Troubled Families agenda and a number of new MST sites are being developed by local authorities and their partners as part of their work with Troubled Families.