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Children in care demand analysis and modelling


Placements for looked-after children are under pressure nationally, with availability short and costs increasing rapidly. With the impacts of COVID-19 still emerging, social work teams and service commissioners face an unprecedented challenge to ensure this substantial expenditure is best invested to improve the lives of children and young people.

To help you meet these challenges we have developed a new data-driven approach to strategic planning and commissioning for support for children in care, working in partnership with Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire county councils.

The approach unlocks new insights into children’s experiences of care, drawing on the rich data hidden within your existing SSDA903 returns and operational systems. We can rapidly join up your data to construct children’s histories over multiple years, revealing for example

  • The range of lengths of time different age groups have remained in care
  • Which kinds of children have passed through care quickly or more slowly
  • Which pathways have led to particular types of placement, e.g. residential care

Using these insights our groundbreaking mathematical model can then project future numbers of children in care. Our baseline projection shows expected numbers assuming recent trends continue, while scenario modelling enables you to explore the impact of upcoming changes, such as introducing a new support intervention, or changes to numbers of children entering care as we recover from lockdown.

Our evidence-based approach will enable you to plan with greater confidence and make the case for the funding needed. It will enable you to commission services more strategically, to improve cost effectiveness and ultimately to improve outcomes for children.

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