Family Action

With origins that go back to 1869 and a reputation for innovation, Family Action is one of the UK’s oldest charities working across three main areas: Early Years, Children and Families, and Adult Mental Health.  Today the charity supports 45,000 families and children through 140 community based services and helps thousands more with financial assistance through education and welfare grants programmes.  SASC has made an investment of £700,000 to support an innovative payment by results programme called Safe Haven.

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Family Action has developed Safe Haven, an innovative intervention which was designed to improve outcomes for particularly vulnerable young people in care through the provision of intensive, wraparound support tailored to the young person’s needs.  The programme offers these young people a 24 hour a day bespoke support package which is also available to their carers and birth families.  Some of these young people can find it so hard to settle in placement (such as a foster home or a children’s home) that they may go through five or more placements in the course of a single year. This inevitably leads to very poor outcomes for the young people involved and escalating levels of vulnerability.  It is also expensive for local authorities. Safe Haven aims to address this issue by providing the right combination of wraparound support for each young person referred to the project so that they can move forward with confidence in their lives.

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Family Action’s Safe Haven intervention is based on a commissioned payment by results (PBR) service where the local authorities of Sandwell and Wolverhampton make payments to Family Action contingent on the achievement of defined social outcomes. To deliver the programme, Family Action was keen to find investors who would be prepared to share the risk in piloting an untested service model and the PBR risk in as simple and flexible a way as possible. SASC and Family Action worked on an innovative structure, as an alternative to a Social Impact Bond (SIB), that sees risk shared without too much cost or complexity. SASC provided £700,000 of funding for Safe Haven, alongside £300,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. If the intervention performs well, investors will share in the upside; conversely, if it does less well than expected, investors will share with Family Action in any losses that are incurred.

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Safe Haven will increase the stability in the lives of some of the country’s most vulnerable young people and has the potential to profoundly to improve their life chances. The intervention will also offer local government a cost effective solution to working with vulnerable young people in care, a model which could be rolled out across the country.