Key challenges that the innovation sought to address included increasing population growth, reducing budgets, too many children and young people being looked after and a limited pool of foster carers. Brighter Futures is a highly ambitious and innovative programme that aims to transform outcomes and life chances for children, young people and their families in care and for those on the edge of care. In addition to transforming lives, we wanted to increase the number and quality of in house foster carers, increase the numbers of children supported in local placements and to support the return of young people who are in expensive out of borough residential placements.
We redesigned the operational and strategic model of service delivery, creating multi-disciplinary teams, for those at the edge of care known as MAST (Multi-Agency Support Team) and in care teams known as Connect. These teams have taken an intensive, multi-agency approach to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable. The initial pilot teams comprised of social workers, clinical psychologists, connexions workers, education specialists, youth justice workers, family support workers, fostering support social workers, youth workers, and youth mentors that would help provide intensive support to young people.
The BF programme was rolled out within Children and family services in April 2017. Although the configuration of the teams has changed the BF model of working has become the ethos and practice underpinning how all social care is delivered in Ealing.
Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education
Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care, University of Bedfordshire