Abstracts: March 7th, 2011

This evaluation report from the Local Authority Child Poverty Innovation Pilot describes the effect of innovative ways of addressing child poverty. It informs local and national learning.

The report finds that a combination of approaches is required including: publicity; outreach; data-led approaches; persistence; and, work with partners to develop referral routes. Once parents and families are engaged, needs assessment is an ongoing process for support that goes beyond signposting.

There is a high demand for employment support for parents that is holistic, flexible and responsive. Effective approaches are delivered by a case-worker supported by, or with access to, flexible resources. Flexible resources are money funds but also the in-kind or other contributions of partner agencies and colleagues who can provide a range of specialist support. In this way the different barriers that different parents face can be addressed in a co-ordinated way.

The provision of resources to families in poverty brings an immediate relief of that condition or circumstance; addressing barriers to engagement with services and to entering and sustaining employment brings more sustainable change. Stakeholders in the pilot programmes consistently identify access to affordable childcare as a key barrier to parental employment.

Workforce development can embed new ways of working, new understandings and therefore enhance capacity for addressing child poverty. One feature across the local programmes is new partnerships between local authority children’s services and economic development and employment directorates.

There are some examples within the pilot of community capacity building approaches. These are well supported locally and the evaluation evidence to date indicates the potential for transformational change in these models. The evaluation also highlights how these approaches take dedicated time and resources to develop and support.

The report can be downloaded here.