Safe Families for Children, a charity working with local authorities across England, has received a glowing endorsement for its work with vulnerable children and struggling families.
A recently published DfE-commissioned evaluation conducted by Dartington Social Research Unit has called Safe Families “one of the most adventurous start-ups in children’s services for some time” with “the potential to support several thousand of England’s neediest children; to greatly reduce the numbers of children in care, and to demonstrably forge a new relationship between public systems and civil society.”
The evaluation report highlights the scale of Safe Families’ rollout and its engagement with more than 3,000 volunteers nationwide who, with Safe Families, the report says, improve wellbeing, stabilise families, and reduce stress levels.
The evaluation estimates that Safe Families’ support could be an alternative to care for around 15% of children who would otherwise be placed in foster or residential care, which would see over 1000 children diverted from the care system.
In just four years since it was founded in the UK by philanthropist Sir Peter Vardy, Safe Families has already benefitted more than 3,800 children using its network of over 3,200 nationwide volunteers.
Keith Danby, Chief Executive of Safe Families for Children, said: “The results of the recent report are an indication of the work we at Safe Families are passionate about – creating better outcomes for children and families across the UK. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who have come forward and who provide so much hope and opportunity to struggling families.”
Helen, a North East mum of two, was going through a difficult separation and struggling moving house with her two girls. Safe Families for Children stepped in to provide befriending for the youngest girl with extra needs to allow Helen to spend time with her oldest daughter. “I felt like I didn’t know where support was going to come from, we don’t have any family in the area at all. The time where I had the support was absolutely needed. I see our future much brighter. I know that’s a bit of cliché but we’re now in our new home and we have a true friend that we’ll have for life. I think that support is just key. We couldn’t move on without it really.”