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Research suggests “little evidence” that the Signs of Safety model leads to better social work practice or reduced risks to children

A new government sponsored study casts doubt on the effectiveness of the Signs of Safety (SofS) approach

Key findings from the evaluation suggest there was;

No evidence from a staff survey or analysis of national data to suggest SofS had resulted in improvement in staff wellbeing or retention

No evidence from case file reviews that a more detailed application of the approach led to more thorough assessments

No moderate or high-strength evidence that SofS decreased the probability of a child being re-referred within six months, or on the impact of SofS on the probability of a child being re-referred and their case escalating.

Moderate strength evidence that SofS reduced the probability of kinship care, compared with non-kinship care, contrary to the aims of the programme.

No apparent impact from using SofS on the numbers of children in need or in care.

No difference between two of the pilots and two comparable non-SofS authorities from observations of practice in any of the indicators used.

The report concludes “Adopting SofS may contribute to strengthening an agency, but it is just one part of what is required to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families. It may lead to more consistent recording of cases but there is no evidence that it leads to consistent and improved practice…

“In summary, we found little evidence to support the claim that SofS leads to better practice or reduced risk for children.”

Read more here.