A mentoring scheme developed in the United States has proved to be an effective inexpensive way to help families in need, a report has concluded.
The charity Safe Families for Children UK has already received £2 million in government funding for its work with families with crisis. Volunteers with the scheme provide social support and mentoring across no less than 31 local authority areas.
It launched in the UK back in 2013 and no less than 1,425 families have benefitted since that time.
According to a newly published six-month government evaluation, families receiving assistance are significantly less likely to losetheir children to the care system. It may therefore provide a viable alternative to care for a significant number of disadvantaged families the Department of Education suggests.
Approximately two thirds of the 708 children across the 20 local authorities assessed who had been on the verge of entering the care system remained with their families thanks to the scheme, the department reports.
The report adds:
“Safe Families represents one of the most adventurous start-ups in children’s services for some time. It has the potential to support several thousand of England’s neediest children; to greatly reduce the numbers of children in care, and to demonstrably forge a new relationship between public systems and civil society.”
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