Mapping the evidence about what works to safely reduce the entry of children and young people into statutory care: A systematic scoping review protocol
Brand, S. L., Morgan, F., Stabler, L., Weightman, A. L., Willis, S., Searchfield, L., ... & Evans, R. E. 2019
Introduction:The increasing number of children and young people entering statutory care in the UK is a significant social, health and educational priority. Development of effective approaches to safely reduce this number remains a complex but critical issue. Despite a proliferation in interventions, evidence summaries are limited. The present protocol outlines a scoping review of research evidence to identify what works in safely reducing the number of children and young people (aged ≤18 years) entering statutory social care. The mapping of evidence gaps, clusters and uncertainties will inform the research programme of the newly funded Department for Education’s What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care. Methods and analysis The review uses Arksey and O’Malley’s scoping review methodology. Electronic database and website searches will identify studies targeting reduction of care entry, reduction of care re-entry and increase in post-care reunification. Supplementary searching techniques will include international expert consultation. Abstracts and full-text studies will be independently screened by two reviewers. Ten percent of data abstraction will be independently conducted by two reviewers, with the remainder being extracted and then verified by a second reviewer. Descriptive numerical summaries and a thematic qualitative synthesis will be generated. Evidence will be synthesised according to primary outcome, intervention point (mapped across socio ecological domains) and the realist EMMIE categorisation of evidence type (Effectiveness; Mechanisms of change; Moderators; Implementation; Economic evaluation). Ethics and dissemination Outputs will be a conceptual evidence map, a descriptive table quantitatively summarising evidence and a qualitative narrative summary. Results will be disseminated through a peer- reviewed publication, conference presentations, the What Works Centre website, and knowledge translation events with policy-makers and practitioners. Findings will inform the primary research programme of the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care and the subsequent suite
Mapping the evidence about what works to safely reduce the number of children and young people in statutory care: a systematic scoping review
Brand, S., Morgan, F., Stabler, L., Weightman, A. L., Willis, S., Searchfield, L., ... & Evans, R 2018
The increasing number of children and young people entering statutory care in the UK is a significant social, health and educational priority. Development of effective approaches to safely reduce this number remains a complex but critical issue. Despite an increase in interventions, evidence summaries are limited. This study is a scoping review; using systematic searching methods to map published evidence in the area of what works in safely reducing the number of children and young people, under the age of 18 years, entering statutory social care. Including exploring the clusters and gaps of research evidence in this area.
Promoting the retention,mental health and wellbeing of child and family social workers: a systematic review of workforce interventions
Turley, R., Roberts, S., Foster, C., Willis, S., Morgan, H., Warner, N., ... & Nurmatov, U. 2020
Mental health, wellbeing and retention are pressing concerns within children’s social care. This systematic review aims to summarise existing evidence on workforce interventions to improve mental health, wellbeing or retention of child and family social workers. Findings suggest a number of potentially promising interventions, particularly organisational level interventions. However, there is very little high quality or consistent evidence available, and more research is needed.
Signs of safety: findings from a mixed methods systematic review focused on reducing the need for children to be in care.
Sheehan, L., O'Donnell, C., Brand, S., Forrester, D., Addis, S., El-Banna, A., ... & Nurmatov, U. 2018
Signs of Safety (SoS) is a framework for child protection practice. SoS aims to stabilise and strengthen families through working in collaboration to identify and harness their strengths and resources. This places relationships between social workers and parents at the centre of child protection.
The SWIS Trial: An evaluation of school based social work
Westlake, D., Pallmann P., Lugg-Widger F., White J., Forrester D., Petrou S., & Daer S 2022
This study will evaluate an intervention which bases social workers in schools (SWIS) with the aim they work more effectively with education colleagues and with children and families. The research design is a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) and it builds on three smaller feasibility studies which found SWIS to be a promising approach and recommended it is explored further. Social workers will work within schools across 21 Local Authorities (LAs) in England, and the study will evaluate the impact of the programme by comparing outcomes between schools that have a social worker and those that continue as normal, without a social worker based on the premises. Schools will be selected randomly from a pool of schools put forward by LAs to receive a social worker, so that we can be confident any differences we observe are due to the intervention and not another difference between the groups. The primary outcome we are testing will be Child Protection (Section 47) enquiries, but we will also analyse other social care and educational outcomes to see what impact the intervention has on these. The study also includes an economic evaluation, which will calculate the costs of SWIS, and an implementation and process component which will explore how and why the intervention works as it does. Interim findings are expected in August 2021 and a final report will be published in August 2022.
NIHR School for
Social Care Research