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Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC)

About the SFPC programme

Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC)

Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) is a five-year programme set up by the Department for Education (DfE) to support local authorities improve their work with families. The aim of the programme is to enable more children to stay at home in stable family environments so that fewer children need to be taken in to care. Eighteen local authorities are being supported to embed one of three whole system change projects, developed by Leeds, Hertfordshire, and North Yorkshire, that have the most promising evidence from the Children’s Social Care Innovation programme of safely reducing the number of children being taken into care.

The purpose of the Strengthening Families Journal is to capture learning and share insights from SFPC for local authorities taking part in the programme, as well as those across the sector interested in innovation. Whether you’re a director or social worker, the Journal provides valuable learning for the use of innovative practice. It connects activity across the programme with wider research and policy, setting the scene for the role innovation has to play in children’s social care.

This programme partnership is made up of five cohorts:

  1. The ‘innovator’ local authorities who developed the three whole system change projects being implemented.
  2. The 17 ‘adopter’ local authorities who are ‘adopting’ one of the whole system change projects.
  3. The Department for Education, who oversee and fund the programme, working closely with the innovator authorities to support them.
  4. The programme support partnership, made up of Mutual Ventures, Innovation Unit and the Social Care Institute for Excellence, who provide coaching to the innovator and adopter local authorities, technical support and a drive learning programme which this website will host.
  5. The programme evaluators. The SFPC programme is being evaluated by What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC).

The ‘innovators’

  • Leeds City Council: Family Valued
  • Hertfordshire County Council: Family Safeguarding
  • North Yorkshire County Council: No Wrong Door

Their role

Local authorities joining the programme will be fully supported to help implement their chosen model. They will receive funding and on-the-ground support to do this from the local authorities who designed the projects (the ‘innovators’).

The ‘adopters’

Leeds Family Valued:

  • Darlington Borough Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • Coventry City Council
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sefton Council

Hertfordshire Family Safeguarding:

  • Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Walsall Council
  • Lancashire County Council
  • Telford and Wrekin Council
  • Wandsworth Borough Council
  • Swindon Borough Council

North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door:

  • Middlesbrough Council
  • Rochdale Borough Council
  • Norfolk County Council
  • Warrington Borough Council
  • Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council


The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned the partnership of Mutual Ventures, Innovation Unit and SCIE to provide coaching, technical support and a learning programme to the local authorities leading the innovations (‘the innovators’) and those adopting the innovations (‘the adopters’). The programme is being evaluated by What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC).

Department for Education (DfE)

The DfE are overseeing and funding the Strengthening Families programme.

The DfE are working closely with each of the ‘innovator’ authorities to support them.

Mutual Ventures (MV)

MV are a consultancy focused on support local authorities to design and implement change. Having delivered large system-wide change projects and supported major organisational transformation, MV bring expertise in:

  • Strategic planning
  • Organisational design
  • Change management
  • Financial planning
  • Programme implementation

Innovation Unit (IU)

IU are innovation specialists – supporting the design and delivery of public services innovation in the UK and internationally. They bring expertise in:

  • Design of innovation
  • Scaling innovation in children’s services, health, mental health
  • System-wide change
  • Leadership development
  • Learning design and delivery

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

SCIE is an innovative, not-for-profit organisation committed to improving thinking and practice in social care. SCIE:

  • Has extensive reach and engagement with the care sector
  • Provides learning design and delivery
  • Researches, produces and shares evidence
  • Supports and scales changes in leadership and practice

What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC)

The SFPC programme is being evaluated by WWCSC. WWCSC seeks better outcomes for children, young people and families by bringing the best available evidence to practitioners and other decision makers across the children’s social care sector.