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What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care evaluation commission

The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care has commissioned IPC to undertake an independent evaluation of a pilot programme, working with vulnerable first time and prospective parents in Manchester.

The programme is called ‘Thriving Babies: Confident Parents’ and it recognises that parent vulnerability - and therefore risks to the baby or infant - may arise because of a range of factors including:

  • parent exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) including abuse or neglect

  • lack of adult (including parenting) role models

  • domestic abuse

  • substance misuse

  • mental health problems

  • learning disability or difficulty

  • vulnerability to exploitation in the community.

This project aims to work pro-actively with parents to build on their strengths. This will include developing an understanding about and attunement to the needs of babies and children, developing parenting skills, reducing risks and developing family resilience as well as improving the parent’s own wellbeing.

This work will be directed by a named ‘key worker’ for the family. They will work alongside the parent(s) to develop a trusting relationship which will be the core enabler of a positive engagement with the overall project.

The project also aims to ‘wrap’ other support around the parent and family, for example to help with their mental health needs. This will be achieved in two ways:

  • through strong links with the voluntary sector, generated through the ‘Big Manchester’ Programme and facilitated by Barnardo’s; and
  • through deployment of a ‘Think Family Coordinator’ for individual families.

It is anticipated that these two mechanisms will help to ‘fast track’ holistic support for these families, when and where it is needed most.

The evaluation is to be undertaken by IPC between May 2021 and June 2022 and is a form of pilot evaluation.

More about the evaluation and the WWC for Children’s Social Care funded project in Manchester can be found here: https://whatworks-csc.org.uk/research-project/thriving-babies-a-pilot-evaluation/


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