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.
- 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.
- Evaluation of the Impact of Action for Children Short break Services on Outcomes for Children - Final Report
This report examines the findings of a study commissioned by Action for Children to explore the impact that their short break services have on disabled children and their families.
Click to read research brief
- The economic and social return of Action for Children's Family Intervention Project, Northamptonshire
This report evaluates the social return created by Northamptonshire Family Intervention Project (FIP) activities. Northamptonshire FIP currently work with 29 of Northamptonshire's most vulnerable families (73 children) for an average of 40 hours a month. These families face multiple issues including; drug and alcohol abuse; anti-social behaviour; domestic violence; being at risk of losing their home; and children at risk of being taken in to care. The FIP team provide intensive, targeted support to the whole family to treat the causes and effects of these issues.
- Evaluation of the Action for Children Supported Housing, Supported Tenancy and Teenage Pregnancy Floating Support Services
Action for Children had been commissioned by Supporting People in Rochdale to deliver three key services; Supported Housing, Pre-Tenancy Support and Teenage Pregnancy Floating Support to young women who were pregnant and to young parents who had been referred to the service. The evaluation was undertaken to establish the difference that these services had made to the lives and outcomes for young women & their families, including factors that enabled or hindered effective communication and multi-agency working between Action for Children & other community-based services.
Click to read executive summary
- Effective relationships with vulnerable parents to improve outcomes for children and young people: final study report
We know human relationships are core to the delivery of effective services, no matter how programmes and funding may change. We also know that developing effective professional relationships makes a real difference to outcomes for the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people. So we commissioned York Consulting to undertake research to articulate how we develop effective relationships with vulnerable parents, and exactly how these relationships make a difference for the children and young people we support. This is the concluding part of their research: the final study report.
An independent evaluation by King's College London of the impact that Action for Children children's centres have on outcomes for children and how Action for Children achieves this through its service delivery style.
For Action for Children briefing please click here
- Children and the Big Society (2011)
A report which examines what the Government must do to ensure the Big Society agenda really means something to the most deprived and neglected in children, young people and families. For the executive summary please click here
- Impact Report (2011)
Research findings from several studies on the difference Action for Children services make to the lives and life chances of the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people across the UK
- Intensive family support report (2011)
A paper which brings together the Action for Children evidence base on intensive family support services.
- HM Prison Service Styal mother and baby unit - an appreciative enquiry (2011)
An appreciative enquiry to identify and develop good practice in mother and baby units in prison, based on an Action for Children service in Styal. For an Action for Children briefing please click here.
- Working outside the box (2011)
A summary report of the evaluation of short breaks and intensive support services to families and disabled young people whose behaviour is severely challenging. Click here to see the Working Outside the Box Information Sheet.
Click here to read an accompanying article in the Journal of Intellectual Disabilites
For supporting research papers please contact Emma Scowcroft, Policy Manager.
Perceptions of effective support services for families - Journal article
- Hear Our Voice! Young People's Views of Policy Priorities for The Scottish Parliament (2008), Young Scot
This report outlines the main conclusions of the Hear our voice! survey, which focused on what young people consider should be the key policy priorities for the Scottish Parliament. The survey was run by Young Scot and Action for Children Scotland in partnership with Dundee City Council, East Ayrshire Council, Highland Council and Kathleen Marshall, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People.
Growing Strong - Attitudes to Building Resilience in the Early Years (2008)
This report, prepared for us by Brand Democracy, investigates what we already know and have learnt about building resilience in early years and uses this to explore the attitudes of parents to the issue of their children's emotional wellbeing. Based on the learning from focus groups run in London, Manchester and Liverpool, the report makes a number of policy recommendations that apply to central and local government, service providers, media and parents.