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Camden Targeted Support Innovation for 10-13 year old Children in Need

Project start date: August 2017

We (London Borough of Camden) were awarded up to £1.3m to trial the early provision of targeted support to 10-13 year old Children in Need. We know a greater proportion of children are coming into care as teenagers so want to test whether providing intensive support when children are  younger  improves their outcomes.

Project Summary


We know that increasing numbers of teenagers are experiencing problems. Research and local authority data demonstrates that this cohort face significant challenges that have  lifelong impacts. We know many young people have experienced neglect and were known to social services over a number of years.  We have found that in Camden children in need aged 10-13 have nearly three times as many repeat referrals than the average across the service. By providing increased support for children, prior to adolescence, their long-term outcomes establishing healthy relationships and making progress in learning will often improve so  reducing the need for prolonged intervention.

Our innovation will deliver an intensive multidisciplinary intervention, which will aim to successfully address  needs of the child and their family before there is failure at school and at home.. The intervention will start with a family group conference which will centre on a family led plan and includes  identification of their key trusted professional.  Social workers will focus on building strengths in the family, community and professional network.

The educational support within our innovation is based upon the  ‘virtual school’ methodology.  This will develop a partnership between the child, their family, teachers and social workers creating a new way of working which maximises the benefit of education and transforms not only educational outcomes, but creates improvements in family stability and emotional wellbeing.

As part of our work we hope to address the systemic barriers to cross-agency working extending our existing Camden Model of Social Work to the wider multi-agency network . A manualised model of systemic reflective groups will be developed, where all professionals involved with the family get an opportunity to explore the family’s dilemmas with mentoring from experienced clinicians who can encourage the development of shared language and plans.

Within the target cohort our innovation will improve parent-child relationships, evidenced by reduced crisis presentations and repeat referrals and improvements in family functioning . For individual children we aim to achieve both improved school attendance and educational rate of progress as well as improvements in emotional wellbeing so reducing risk factors in adolescence.

Project contact details

Marianne Todd, Project Lead

Project evaluators

Behavioural Insight Team

Project partners

Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust, Catch 22

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