Taking care: practice framework for reunification evaluation report

Despite return home from care being the most common outcome for looked after children (Department for Education, 2014a); research suggests that significant numbers of children experience abuse and neglect when returning home from care. In response to this, the NSPCC developed the Taking Care practice framework: an evidence-informed risk assessment and planning framework for use by local authority social workers when deciding whether a child can be returned home. The Taking Care practice framework is designed to provide a more robust assessment and decision-making process and also to inform and support work with children and families throughout the reunification process, including once a child has returned home. Between its implementation in 2012 and November 2014, the Taking Care practice framework has been used to support 325 children across nine pilot local authorities. The NSPCC commissioned the Centre for Child and Family Research to undertake an independent evaluation of the Taking Care framework. The evaluation findings will be relevant to practitioners, managers, researchers and policy makers with an interest in improving social work practice, and the implementation of practice frameworks in local authorities. NSPCC are currently working in partnership with the University of Bristol to revise the practice framework to be applicable for any local authority to implement. The revised framework and implementation materials will be available from summer 2015.