Family Rights Group’s Advice and Advocacy Service shown to keep children safely within their family and save public money, despite ongoing crisis in children’s social care
Published: 17th November 2022
5 minute read
Family Rights Group has published an evaluation of their Advice & Advocacy Service’s freephone advice line, from April 2020 to March 2022. The specialist service answered nearly 14,000 calls from mothers, fathers and kinship carers (i.e. wider family and friends raising or considering raising a child who can’t remain at home). Most calls related to family support, child protection or care proceedings.
The evaluation found that immediately following the call, three in four respondents said they had a better understanding of social workers’ concerns, of the law, and of their rights and options. Importantly it found that three to six months later, 45% of respondents said the call had made a positive difference to the local authority’s plan for their child or services provided. Using a cost benefit model designed by New Philanthropy Capital, the evaluation found that for every £1 invested in the service, the state saves £15.58 by avoiding care and more intensive support costs.
The advice line is partially funded by the Department for Education. However, rising demand, combined with resource constraints, means that the charity can currently only answer four in ten callers.
Cathy Ashley, Chief Executive of Family Rights Group said:
“Children’s social care in England is currently in crisis, with a record number of children in the care system and the situation is projected to get worse.
“This new evaluation demonstrates our advice line helps families to understand their rights and options, navigate complex child welfare processes and get the support their child needs. By averting more children entering care, the service has saved the public purse nearly £15m the last two years.
“Combining social care and legal expertise, our advisers are making a real difference to the lives of children and families. With record numbers of families subject to intensive and often stressful interventions by the state, the evaluation demonstrates the positive impact of high-quality, personalised advice.
“But at present, our service can only answer four in every ten calls due to funding constraints. With such a positive return on investment in our advice line for both families and children’s services, I look forward to discussing the benefits of long-term investment in the service with ministers.”
Find out more about the evaluation:
You can find the full text of the report, alongside a summary report, here.
For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07442 615992.
About Family Rights Group
Family Rights Group’s mission is to create a more socially just society in which the child welfare and family justice systems support children to live safely and thrive within their family, while strengthening the family and community networks of those children who cannot live at home.
We do this through:
- Innovative child welfare practices, including family group conferences and Lifelong Links
- Combining our legal and social work expertise to provide information and guidance to families through our Advice and Advocacy Service
- Using our insights to campaign for reforms to law and policies that will benefit children and families
- Amplifying the voices of children and families with experience of the child welfare system
Advice & Advocacy Service
Family Rights Group runs a free, independent and confidential advice service for parents, grandparents, relatives and friends including kinship carers in England.
Monday to Friday 9.30am-3pm (excluding Bank Holidays)
0808 801 0366
Textphone 18001 followed by the advice line number
Parent looking for information and advice, can also use our Parents’ Forum: https://www.frg.org.uk/ParentsForum/
Kinship carers looking for information and advice, can also use our Kinship Carers’ Forum: https://www.frg.org.uk/FandFCForum/