New evidence paper published by the National Children’s Bureau: Impact of investing in prevention on demand for statutory children’s social care

The final report of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care is expected imminently. To support the launch of the Review, the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) has worked with their academic partners to showcase the latest research on children’s social care.

The NCB’s new evidence paper (Impact of investing in prevention on demand for statutory children’s social care) demonstrates that investing in prevention, including family support and early help, can reduce demand for more expensive crisis support later, and also leads to better services overall.

The NCB says:

“We have a unique opportunity to strengthen families and invest in early intervention. We must seize this moment to transform children’s lives for the better. Rarely has the case for early investment been so clearly articulated. We have to seize the moment”.

Highlights from the evidence paper:

  • Increased spending on children’s social care preventative services (including family support and early help) has a positive impact on:
    • Ofsted judgements
    • Numbers of Children in Need
    • Rates of 16–17-year-olds starting periods in care.
  • The distribution of local authority spending on prevention has become increasingly less well matched to need.
  • Two recent papers have reinforced the contributory causal relationship between family poverty and levels of child abuse and neglect and the demand for children’s social care services, including rates of entry to care.

The evidence paper concludes with a brief summary of further contextual research on the association between household income and intervention, and on systems-thinking in children’s social care.

You can read more in the NCB’s evidence paper here.

You can join the iHV in raising awareness of the publication of the NCB’s evidence paper and share on social media using the prepared tweet below:

The imminent #CareReview is our chance to secure a future where every child feels safe, secure & supported @NCBtweets’ new evidence paper shows how investment in preventative services can help build that future, saving money in the process.







We are delighted to share the National Children’s Bureau’s Manifesto for a Better Childhood .

It’s a very comprehensive document making a call to the next government in all the necessary areas for children – including a call to: Invest in a world-class health visiting service for new parents, so all families can build a trusting relationship with their health visitor.


A survey of local councillors responsible for children’s services confirms an increasing crisis in children’s social care, with the overwhelming majority (87%) saying that demand for local authority support for children and families has risen over the past two years. The findings suggest many councils are struggling to provide this help.

The new report, published by the National Children’s Bureau, found that two-thirds of councillors have warned their council doesn’t have enough funding to provide universal services for children and families.

It also found 41% of councillors said a lack of funding was preventing them from meeting their statutory duties to children, with 36% saying there was insufficient funding to help children in care.

The report – Off the Radar – calls for increased funding for children’s social care, better data collection and sharing, and a cross-Government strategy for improving children’s lives.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director iHV, said:

“Health visitors, now commissioned by the local authorities, provide the universal preventative service for children and families. It’s alarming to see the effects of decommissioning on both children’s public health and social care services.”

Do you work with children in care in England?

If so, would you be interested in taking part in the National Children’s Bureau’s (NCB) research looking at measures of wellbeing for children in care?

The NCB is currently undertaking research on what measures, tools or indicators are used to assess the wellbeing of children in care in England. They’re really interested in finding out more about how such information is collected and used by those working with children in care, which might include foster carers, counsellors or residential home managers.

You can tell them your thoughts and experiences of measuring the wellbeing of children in care by taking part in their ten minute survey:

They are also interested in speaking to managers and practitioners in more detail by telephone. If you would like to volunteer for a short telephone interview, then please contact Rebekah Ryder, Senior Researcher at NCB on [email protected], 020 7833 6811 or submit your details using this form:

This research is funded by John Paul Getty Junior Charitable Trust.

Losing in the Long Run report, produced by Action for Children in partnership with the National Children’s Bureau and The Children’s Society, calls for a renewed commitment from Government to vital early intervention services that support children, young people, and families.

It shows that although local councillors believe in the value of early intervention services, they are concerned that maintaining spending on services, like children’s centres, will get more challenging.

The report asks whether further reductions are sustainable and desirable, providing evidence from local councillors, young people and parents about the value of early intervention, and the impact that funding reductions have on the availability of these services locally.