Understanding the Impact of a New Approach to the Safeguarding of Children at Risk: An Evaluation Protocol

Ruta Buivydaite , Apostolos Tsiachristas, Steve Thomas, Hannah Farncombe, Rafael Perera-Salazar, Ray Fitzpatrick, Charles Vincent

Child Safeguarding Services intervene in situations where a child is at risk of serious emotional or physical harm. The response will vary according to the level of risk, but in serious cases, a child may need to be removed from danger and cared for by foster parents either temporarily or permanently. The number of children being taken into care has increased markedly in recent years in the United Kingdom. Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) is implementing a new approach to the welfare of children (Family Solutions Plus; FSP) in which the focus is to support the whole family and ideally reduce the need for foster care.

In this paper, we describe a proposed programme of evaluation to examine the impact of FSP on the time children are in contact with services, the nature of the support provided, experience of children and families, the experience of staff, and longer term outcomes for children, particularly whether they remain within the family or need to be cared for outside the home.