‘Concerning’ question marks over Signs of Safety effectiveness, review finds

Research from children’s social care What Works Centre argues practice model’s impact on reducing care admissions is unproven and that evidence base needs ‘urgently developing’. There is “no evidence” a popular practice model reduces the numbers of children entering care, a new study has found. The systematic review was one of two research pieces published this week by the government’s What Works Centre for children’s social care. It found “concerning” question marks over whether and how Signs of Safety’s impact, including its cost-effectiveness, could be measured. The approach, which originated in Australia and focuses on partnership building and on families’ strengths, “implicitly and explicitly” aims to reduce numbers of children in care and has been enthusiastically embraced in the UK. It was the subject of a broadly positive 2017 Department for Education (DfE) evaluation of 10 pilot authorities. The new study report hedged its bets, saying that “lack of basic evidence in relation to Signs of Safety does not mean we should conclude it does not work”. But, it concluded: “Robust evaluations based on a clearly specified intervention theory are needed to adequately assess whether Signs of Safety can achieve its outcomes when delivered well.” Read more.