Evidence Based Decisions Reviewing family situations to protect children

When there are serious concerns about how a child is being cared for, people who work with children and families need to make effective decisions based on real evidence.

We’re working with local authority social workers (people who work with children and families in particular areas) to assess parents’ abilities to look after their children where there are serious concerns about the wellbeing of the child.

The assessment is made using a tool called the North Carolina Family Assessment Scale (NCFAS).

Two women sitting at a table and having a conversation

How it works 

Families will receive at least 3 visits lasting between 1 and 2 hours, where they can talk about their situation and how they’re feeling. We then write a report (called a family functioning review) which includes:

  • strengths
  • key goals
  • any changes needed to make sure the children remain with their family safely.

We also help to find any additional support a family might need to achieve their goals.

The family will be reviewed again after around 3 months, or sooner if needed, to see if progress has been made based on the changes identified.

The local authority social worker will then use this information in their decisions about whether it's safe for the child to remain at home, and what additional support the family need.

We believe this tool could help effective decisions, meaning better help for neglected children in the UK. We’re testing it to find out.

The North Carolina Family Assessment Scale (NCFAS) was developed in the USA by Dr Ray Kirk at the University of North Carolina-Chapel-Hill. 

In other countries, it’s been shown to improve the way social workers interact with families, how they gather and analyse information and how they make decisions.

Children's stories

"I even felt lonely when mum and dad were in the house because mentally they were completely out of it."

Read Sophie's story

Evaluating the impact

Find out how we're evaluating Evidence Based Decisions.

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Where the Evidence Based Decisions is available

Blackpool

01253 955 709

East London

020 3763 2380

Newcastle-under-Lyme

01782 958100

Swansea

01792 341 700

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