DfE’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme

Two publications on support for care leavers from round two of the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme by Ipsos MORI have been published.

The author(s)

  • Dr. Claudia Mollidor Public Affairs
  • Raynette Bierman Public Affairs
  • Ellis Akhurst Public Affairs
  • Charlotte Goujon Public Affairs
  • Leonardo Zanobetti Public Affairs
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Today, the Department for Education has published two Ipsos MORI evaluation reports from the second round of their Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, looking at innovative and experimental approaches to improving outcomes of care leavers.

In 2017, Ipsos MORI were commissioned by DfE to evaluate Derby City Council’s expansion of the Local Area Coordination approach to young people leaving care and Southwark Council’s Care Leavers Partnership with Catch22.

Derby City Council’s Local Area Coordination approach

Derby City Council has been running Local Area Coordination in adult services since 2012 and as part of their successful bid in 2017, expanded the service to young people who have recently left the care system (aged 16-25) between 2017 and March 2020. Local Area Coordination is a community-based approach that supports the development at the individual level and community level by seeking local solutions and helping people stay independent.

The evaluation demonstrated that the expansion to care leavers was successful and recommended the continuation of the approach. Interviews with young people showed that they felt they could rely on their Coordinator and saw their relationship as different to their experiences with other statutory provisions. The evidence highlighted that progress for this cohort is not straight forward, with some experiencing both improvements and setbacks over the duration of the project, although all believed that they would be in a worse position without their Coordinator. With the support of their Coordinator, case studies demonstrated that young people were able to find solutions to their problems more effectively. Examples include young people taking more control of their accommodation situation and personal finances, and developing greater education and employment aspirations.

Southwark Council’s Care Leavers Partnership

Between May 2017 and March 2020, Southwark Council and Catch22 partnered together for the Care Leavers Partnership, an ambitious project which combined systems-focused changes, such as recruiting and embedding expertise in the service through the Experienced Practitioner roles and reviewing practice models, with improving direct work with care leavers, such as by an updated pathway plan and running activities such as the ‘Unlock It’ programme.

Ipsos MORI completed the evaluation in March 2020. Despite challenges in the implementation phase, the evidence highlighted several successes during the project. The recruitment of the Experienced Practitioners added specialist expertise to the service to support addressing specific challenges relevant to this cohort, such as housing, vulnerable young people and social capital development. The Partnership launched a new website for care leavers, updated their Local Offer and revised their pathway planner based on feedback from care leavers to better reflect their needs. The project also successfully engaged other Council services and local partners to identify new opportunities for young people, especially related to education, employment and training.

The author(s)

  • Dr. Claudia Mollidor Public Affairs
  • Raynette Bierman Public Affairs
  • Ellis Akhurst Public Affairs
  • Charlotte Goujon Public Affairs
  • Leonardo Zanobetti Public Affairs

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