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Project start date: August 2017

We (Essex County Council) were awarded up to £3m to develop an alternative option to residential care for children who have had multiple unsuccessful placements. Through intensive targeted support in the family home combined with periods in care, we want to reduce the burden and gravity of intervention.

Project Summary


Within Essex, Hertfordshire and Norfolk local authorities, a large number of young people have experienced several placement moves and are escalated to high cost placements that are still not meeting their needs. The constant upheaval and change increases their vulnerability to high-risk behaviours such as exploitation, drug and alcohol misuse and criminal behaviour which reduces their outcomes in adult life. The current response mechanism, of high-cost residential placements and other services does not guarantee harm reduction and can result in continuous place instability.

Our innovation will develop a more personalised intervention based on an intensive, relationship based support through a coach. The coach will work closely with a co-ordinating social worker and placement providers to effect positive change for the young person and enable them to ultimately live at home where possible. A range of placement options and short breaks will provide a stable base for the young person. Additional support will include peer activities for the whole family and a team that supports the coach. Our project will emphasise harm reduction and over time an improved integration into families and communities for young people at a lower cost.

Project contact details

Jenny Boyd

Director of Local Delivery, Childrens Services

Project evaluators

Tavistock Institute

Project partners

Children’s Society, Potton Homes, FEVACA, Children in Care Council, Essex, Hertfordshire County Council, Norfolk County Council

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