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Our research allows us to influence public policy and understand the crucial issues facing the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people in the UK.


  • Keeping myself safe: practitioner’s toolkit for developing effective relationships with vulnerable young people

    Focusing on safeguarding issues such as risk taking behaviour and self harm, the toolkit explores the skills and qualities which practitioners should have if they are to build effective professional relationships which can enable young people to build their resilience, develop confidence and manage risk in their lives.

  • Preventing child neglect in the UK: what makes services accessible to children and families?
    We have worked with the University of Stirling over the past four years to produce our annual reviews of child neglect. Our latest review focuses on help seeking by children and families. As part of our 2013/14 research, we spoke to more than 5,000 children, young people, parents/carers and professionals. What they told us informs our  recommendations for practice which you can find in the report

  • Children and the benefit cap
    Our research, based on freedom of information requests, reveals that only 1 in 10 local authorities in England know how many children in need are affected by the benefit cap. The research also reveals a worrying lack of joined up working between housing and children’s services departments and a continued reliance, by local authorities, on temporary accommodation.


  • The Red Book
    The Red Book 2013 brings together evidence, gathered over the past three years, on the impact of Government spending decisions. It looks at how the delivery of early intervention services have been affected, as well as the day to day lives of vulnerable children and families.
  • Early intervention: decision-making in local authority Children’s Services
    Action for Children commissioned the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) to undertake a study exploring local authority decision making in regards to early intervention. The research found that local authorities are finding it difficult to work towards long-term visions while meeting day-to-day needs, that strategic plans for children’s services typically cover 3-5 year periods yet delivery contracts have to be managed on a much shorter-term basis and the potential to deliver long-term benefits, are limited by short-term funding cycles and national initiatives.
  • Roots of Empathy
    An independent evaluation of the classroom based, social and emotional programme, Roots of Empathy, commissioned by Action for Children and carried out by North Lanarkshire Psychological Service. The evaluation found that Roots of Empathy raises levels of empathy amongst pupils, resulting in more respectful relationships and a reduction in problem behaviour in the classroom.

    Read the executive summary
    Read the full report


  • Evaluation of Supported Training Programmes - Year 3 Report
    In 2009, ekosgen, an independent research and evaluation consultancy, was commissioned to undertake a three year evaluation of our Supported Training Programmes. The first and second years of the evaluation focused exclusively on the Youthbuild project, while the third year has looked at four different projects: Challenge Scotland, Transition Care Leavers, Action Training, and Employability.

    See also the Year 1 and Year 2 reports.
  • The costs of short break services: understanding the contracting and commissioning process
    This research was commissioned by Action for Children and carried out by the Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University. The aim of the research was to explore the costs of short break services for disabled children and their families. The study also sought to understand the contracting and commissioning process, including the factors that inform decision making processes and the management of budgets.

    Please email Emma Scowcroft, Policy Manager for more information.
  • The Red Book 2012
    Now into its second year, The Red Book 2012 looks at the impact of the spending changes over the past year and highlights ways in which far more could be achieved for the funding available.

    Read the executive summary

  • Review of Child Neglect Final Report
    This project, funded by the Scottish Government and undertaken in
    partnership with the University of Scotland, addresses how many children are currently experiencing neglect in Scotland, how good we are at recognising children who are at risk of, or are experiencing neglect and how well we are helping children at risk of, or currently experiencing neglect.
  • In the Eye of the Storm: Britain's Forgotten Children and Families
    This new report conducted by Landman Economics, on behalf of Action for Children, the Children's Society and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) shows how vulnerable families and their children are being most heavily affected by spending cuts and changes to the tax and benefits system. It highlights the need to protect children from the impact of austerity measures and start a national debate on the needs of children.

Read the executive summary
Read the methodological briefing note

  • Child Neglect Review 2011

    Child neglect in 2011 is a review by Action for Children in partnership with the University of Stirling. It enables us to fill in the gaps that presently exist about the situation for, and response to, neglected children across the UK and creates a picture of the current situation. While an understanding of neglect and the terrible consequences it can have is growing, we must accept that most social workers feel "powerless" to intervene and that local authorities are not recording the prevalence of neglect outside of data required for child protection plans. Our aim now is to stimulate a debate on the recording and tackling of neglect, with specific emphasis on early intervention.


  • Evaluation of Supported Employment Programmes - Year 2 Report
    In July 2009 Action for Children commissioned GEN to carry out a three year
    process and outcomes evaluation of Youthbuild Supported Employment Programmes operating in Scotland. This is the second report in the evaluation and covers research undertaken between August 2010 and August 2011 relating to Youthbuild programme and to Action for Children's overall approach towards preparing young people not in education, employment or training (NEET/ MCMC in Scotland) for work.
  • Action for Children's Red Book
    We set out to understand whether the coalition Government has been able to protect the most vulnerable during this time of unprecedented public spending cuts, radical reform of the welfare state and public service delivery,  and a changing relationship between the individual and the state. The Action for Children Red Book is an in-depth analysis of our services which support nearly 80,000 of the most vulnerable children, young people and families in the UK. We have done this through the eyes of the front-line professionals who work directly with them every day.