As we reach the one year anniversary of the creation of Foundations, formed through the merger of What Works for Children’s Social Care and the Early Intervention Foundation, Chief Executive, Dr Jo Casebourne, reflects on our achievements from our first year and the exciting progress we have made toward delivering our strategy.
It’s almost exactly a year since the What Works for Children’s Social Care merged with the Early Intervention Foundation in December 2022, coming together with the shared aim of using evidence to improve outcomes for vulnerable children. The end of our inaugural year as a newly merged organisation marks a significant milestone for our collective efforts as Foundations – What Works Centre for Children and Families. Over the last 12 months, we have launched a new strategy to deliver our vision that vulnerable children have the foundational relationships they need to thrive in life, and have worked with our funders and partners, and with policy-makers and practitioners, to ensure that we are generating and championing actionable evidence that improves services to support family relationships.
Some highlights for me are publishing findings from the largest ever randomised controlled trial of Family Group Conferencing, with the significant finding that FGCs can keep children with their families. We estimate that 2000 children a year could remain with their families if an FGC was offered to all families in England at pre-proceedings stage, saving £150 million in the first two years. On the back of these results, we are now working directly with Department for Education to make that a reality. We’ve also initiated the process of building evidence around how to improve outcomes for children in domestic abuse interventions. This is particularly important given the huge damage domestic abuses causes to large numbers of children and given how little evidence we have about what works to help these children. In the new year, we will be announcing which interventions we are going to be evaluating. We’ve also published several pieces of research on kinship care, including a report in October , which highlighted the variation in the type and extent of support offered to kinship carers by local authorities, and we’ve been working with the Department for Education ahead of their upcoming kinship strategy.
To finish the year, yesterday we celebrated our one-year anniversary alongside our partners across the sector, including officials from central and local government, policy makers, researchers, academics, practitioners and advocates – all of whom are vital to delivering meaningful change. I want to thank everyone who has supported and worked with us over the last year. This is just the beginning for Foundations and I look forward to what we can continue to achieve together in 2024 and beyond.