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Mapping the evidence about what works to safely reduce the number of children and young people in statutory care: a systematic scoping review

The steadily increasing annual numbers of children and young people in care in the UK are of significant current concern. While there will always be some children who need out-of-home care, there are many legal, ethical, social and economic arguments for safely keeping children with their birth families where possible. Reducing the need for care is one of the research priorities for the first phase of the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care. Identifying effective approaches to reduce the need for care is complex but critically important. Despite a proliferation of different interventions and approaches, evidence summaries on this topic are limited. This study is a scoping review to explore what research evidence exists about what works in safely reducing the number of children and young people in care. This is the first stage of reviewing the evidence in a complex field – identifying what is out there.