Family Valued Model – Trial Evaluation

Part of the Department for Education’s Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) Programme

Family Valued Model – Trial Evaluation

Summary

This protocol summarises plans for evaluating the Family Valued model roll-out in five local authorities in England.

Who, what, why and how?

As part of the Department for Education (DfE) funded Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) programme, we are evaluating the roll-out of the Family Valued Model in five local authorities: Warwickshire, Newcastle, Coventry, Solihull and Sefton.

We are using a stepped wedge cluster Randomised Control Trial (RCT) design for the impact evaluation, which means that local authorities start delivering the model at different times and all the local authorities in the sample will eventually implement the Family Valued model. Randomising the start date will allow local authorities that have not yet implemented the programme to act as a control group against service in local authorities where Family Valued has already been implemented. The first local authority started implementing Family Valued in Spring 2020, with other local authorities following in 6-month intervals.

Alongside the impact evaluation, there will also be an implementation and process evaluation across the five local authorities, to understand the delivery during the rollout of the model.

Developed in Leeds, Family Valued is a model for supporting a whole-scale shift to restorative practice, changing service-wide ways of working with children and families so that support is done ‘with’ them, not ‘to’ them. The programme involves:

  • introductory awareness raising, or deep dive training on restorative practice for all levels of staff in children’s services and their partner agencies working with children, families and communities (such as health and education), including training for leadership and management.
  • review and reform of systems and structures in children’s social care to ensure they optimise relationships with partners and restorative practice with families.
  • offering Family Group Conferences (FGCs) to families, as an alternative to child protection conferences, to reduce entry to care and support reunification.
  • newly-commissioned restorative services to address gaps in provision and act on the outcomes of FGCs.

Research Questions

Impact Evaluation

The primary evaluation question of the RCT is:

  • What is the impact of Family Valued on the likelihood of children becoming looked after?

 

There are also six secondary questions, relating to changes in:

  1. the likelihood of children having their plan closed and then returning to statutory services
  2. the likelihood of children progressing to a CPP
  3. time spent on CPP or CIN plans
  4. the likelihood of children looked after entering kinship care
  5. the likelihood of children looked after being reunited with their families
  6. unauthorised school absence rates of children referred to children’s social care

 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and associated changes to programme delivery, our original stepped wedge design is likely to be weakened. As a result, we are adding a supplementary matched difference-in-differences (DiD) analysis to the current research design. The changes to programme delivery have also delayed some of the data collection but no significant changes to the final timelines are expected.

Implementation and Process Evaluation (IPE)

The IPE will assess how the model is delivered across the local authorities and identify any elements of successful delivery, as well as improving the understanding of the model.

Delivery Partners

Leeds County Council

Due Date

This project is due to be completed by February 2026.
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