Catch22 and Cheshire East developed the model in response to large numbers of CIN cases involving domestic abuse and neglect that were not receiving proactive interventions required to tackle the underlying causes of concern.
FACT22 provides support to families, while the local authority retains statutory responsibility.
The service comprises a team of practitioners who are led by a social work consultant and trained in solutions-focused, strengths-based interventions. In order to increase direct contact time, FACT22 takes on peer mentors and volunteers, alongside a ‘buddy’ system for workers.
FACT22 was initially developed in Crewe, and has since been adopted in Macclesfield and Coventry with significant success. Internal project monitoring in Cheshire East states that, since August 2015, 888 children have received a service (423 families). Of which, 548 children (258 families) have closed successfully and 45 children (20 families) have stepped down for Early help/CAF support.
A DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2017 found that:
- FACT22 (formerly Project Crewe) has had some positive impact on CIN outcomes.
- Early indications suggested the project decreases risk, while increasing protective factors around the CIN, more than for those families in the control group.
- The project suggests that CIN cases can be supported positively by non-social work qualified staff. Families involved were visited three times more frequently and offered personalised flexible support.
- The project created space for social workers to tackle more complex child protection cases.
- A randomised control trial in Crewe found that the approach has promising indications of efficacy in closing cases, particularly for families with a history of social care support.
- Of the 132 randomly allocated cases, two-thirds (88) were allocated to the PC pilot. The pilot closed a higher proportion of CIN cases (69% compared to 61%) than those that remained with mainstream services. For every 100 CIN cases with a history of social care, PC would resolve 12 more. However, although the project closed more cases compared to mainstream services, the latter closed cases more quickly.