Family support

A research review of the costs and outcomes of family support

This is a timely and invaluable work for all those with an
interest in planning or commissioning family support services for
children in need and their families. The publication forms part of
a larger research project commissioned by the Wales Office of
Research and Development, which aims to compare the costs and
outcomes of family support services for children in need within two
North Wales authorities.

This preliminary report combines an introduction to the variety
of methods and measures used in evaluating outcomes in social care
generally, and family support services in particular. Is also
provides a review of recent research into the effectiveness of
different kinds of family support interventions likely to be either
provided or commissioned by social services departments, from day
care to parenting education, family centres and social worker

It offers insights into some of the shortcomings of the previous
research into outcomes conducted in this field, and outlines those
areas in which there is strong research evidence to support the
effectiveness of services. The author has identified good evidence
to support positive outcomes from high quality early education and
day care provision, but only ambiguous evidence about the positive
effects of family centres.

The author concludes that a more rigorous approach to outcome
evaluation should be adopted.

Source: June Statham, “Outcomes and effectiveness of family
support services: a research review,” Issues in Practice,
Institute of Education, University of London, 2000.

Katy Burch is senior research consultant, School for
Social Sciences , Oxford Brookes University









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