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What Works Centre for Children's Social Care findings from the pilot evaluation of the Thriving Babies: Confident Parents (TBCP) programme

Report | March 2023

This December 2022 report for the What Works Centre for Children's Social Care presents findings from the pilot evaluation of the Thriving Babies: Confident Parents (TBCP) programme, an initiative designed and delivered by Manchester City Council, involving a multi-agency partnership of local authority children’s services (Early Help and Social Care) and two voluntary sector providers, Barnardo’s and Home-Start. The programme aims to intervene early and support parents of babies and infants, both pre- and post-birth, in cases where the (prospective) parents are recognised as having specific vulnerabilities. Practitioners work proactively with parents to build upon their strengths, develop their parenting skills, reduce risk and promote family resilience and parent wellbeing.

The first years of a child’s life are extremely significant in terms of laying the foundations for their cognitive, emotional and physical development. See: HM Government. (2021). The Best Start for Life A Vision for the 1,001 Critical Days. The Early Years Healthy Development Review Report.

As the number of infants in care proceedings have continued to increase in recent years (Mason et al., 2022), local authorities and national policymakers are concerned to better understand and halt this trend. Reference and link for Mason: Mason, C., Broadhurst, K., Ward, H., Barnett, A. & Holmes, L. (2022). Born into care: Developing best practice guidelines for when the state intervenes at birth. Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.

IPC's evaluation of Thriving Babies: Confident Parents, a key practitioner-delivered service for vulnerable at-risk parents in Manchester, adds further evidence to emerging literature about the potential value of intensive support for vulnerable parents during the perinatal period (see also Burch et al., 2020 - Evaluation of positive choices in Calderdale for care experienced and other vulnerable young parents).

Our mixed-methods evaluation found that the model demonstrated strong, triangulated evidence of promise in terms of its potential for positive impact on children and families including parenting practices, parent attunement to their infant’s needs, child/parent attachments, and reduced parent risk factors.

Download the full report from our website above.

Or visit the What Works Centre for Children's Social Care website for further information.

Professor Katy Burch, Assistant Director
Professor Katy Burch, Assistant Director

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