Government policy

Evidence based interventions for looked after children, children on the edge of care and custody and their families
The Department for Education, in partnership with the Department of Health and the Youth Justice Board, have supported a range of evidence based interventions for looked after children, children on the edge of care or custody and their families.
This range of interventions provides a continuum of support for families with children who typically have a range of complex and challenging behaviours which can result in out of home placements, placement breakdown or custody.  
  • MST is for 11-17 year olds who are at risk of out of home placement in either care or custody due to offending or severe behaviour problems.
  • Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO)  is an intensive treatment intervention for children between 3-17years of age. Foster carers receive intensive support and training to enable children and young people to build on their strengths and address the difficulties in every area of their lives.
  • Keeping foster and kinship carers trained and supported (KEEP) is a group training programme which aims to increase the positive parenting skills of foster and kinship carers in responding to children's difficulties, reducing placement disruption and enabling children to be successful in childhood and adulthood. 
  • Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is a family based therapy for young people between 11-18yrs. The therapy supports the reduction of disruptive communication patterns and focuses on positive interactions, effective supervision and boundary setting.
Supporting evidence based interventions is part of a wider agenda both within government and local organisations to drive improvements in practice and service provision for vulnerable children and their families.
For children in foster care, local authorities who have been using KEEP over a significant period are seeing improvements in placement stability and foster carer retention. Addressing the issues of placement instability for looked after children and young people and recruiting a broad range of foster carers to ensure that children and young people are placed with the right family who can meet their needs and promote their welfare are core to the Government’s Improving Fostering Services Programme. 
For younger children who cannot return home or be cared for within their wider family networks, adoption may offer the stability they need to lead secure and successful lives. It is more likely that these children will experience success within their adoptive families if they are given the opportunity and support to address the significant difficulties which often result from a disrupted and unstable early family life. It is essential that local authorities are able to offer a range of effective services to adoptive families to support stable and successful placements.
NHS England

The independent Mental Health Taskforce published its Five Year Forward View in February 2016 which set out the current state of mental health service provision in England and made recommendations in all service areas.

NHS England accepted all the recommendations in the report for which it held responsibility and it was agreed with the Government that to support this transformation, mental health services will benefit from additional investment of £1bn per year by 2020/21.

In July 2016, NHS England published an Implementation Plan detailing how it will deliver the recommendations made by the Taskforce working with its partner arms-length bodies. The Plan presents the timeframes and funding for delivery of the programmes of work which will transform mental health services.

Please visit the NHS England website for more information.

Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-being Taskforce
The taskforce is looking at how to improve the way children’s mental health services are organised, commissioned and provided and how to make it easier for young people to access help and support, including in schools, through voluntary organisations and online.
The taskforce, co-chaired by Jon Rouse Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships at Department of Health and Martin McShane NHS England’s director for people with long term conditions. It will bring together experts on children and young people’s mental health services and people who know about wider system transformation from education, social care and health. It will commission external advice from experts and others with experience in children and young people’s mental health.
Click here for more information about the taskforce.
Report of the work of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce:
Future in mind: Promoting, protecting and improving our children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing was published on Tuesday 17th March as part of the Department of Health's commitment to improving mental health services for young people.
Click here for other documents related to the taskforce.
Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT)
The IAPT programme supports the frontline NHS in implementing National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders.
It was created to offer patients a realistic and routine first-line treatment, combined where appropriate with medication which traditionally had been the only treatment available. The programme was first targeted at people of working age but in 2010 was opened to adults of all ages.
From 2011, the programme's focus has broadened, following publication of Talking Therapies: a four-year plan of action, one of a suite of documents supporting No health without mental health, the cross-Government mental health strategy for people of all ages.
In the four years to April 2015:
  • the nationwide roll-out of psychological therapy services for adults will be completed,
  • a stand-alone programme for children and young people will be initiated, and
  • models of care for people with long-term physical conditions, medically unexplained symptoms and severe mental illness will be developed.
Evidence shows this approach can save the NHS up to £272million and the wider public sector will benefit by more than £700 million.
By 31 March 2011:
  • 142 of the 151 Primary Care Trusts in England had a service from this programme in at least part of their area and just over 50 per cent of the adult population had access,
  • 3,660 new cognitive behavioural therapy workers had been trained, and
  • over 600,000 people started treatment, over 350,000 completed it, over 120,000 moved to recovery and over 23,000 came off sick pay or benefits (between October 2008 and 31 March 2011).
The programme began in 2006 with Demonstration sites in Doncaster and Newham focusing on improving access to psychological therapies services for adults of working age. In 2007, 11 IAPT Pathfinders began to explore the specific benefits of services to vulnerable groups. The original Implementation Plan of 2008 and related documents can be view on the Department of Health website. Two important published 'stock takes' on progress were Realising the Benefits (2010), and `IAPT: 3 Year report; the First Million Patients` (2012).
This website is a learning and support tool for services created through the programme and includes a directory of local IAPT NHS Services offering psychological therapies for conditions including depression and anxiety
For more information about the IAPT programme, please visit
NICE guidance on anti social behaviour and conduct disorders.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have issued the clinical guidelines, Antisocial behaviour and conduct disorders in children and young people: recognition, intervention and management. This updates and replaces 'Parent-training/education programmes in the management of children with conduct disorder' (NICE technology appraisal guidance 102, published June 2006). 
The guidance offers evidence-based advice on the recognition and management of conduct disorders in children and young people, which includes a recommendation that children and young people aged between 11 and 17 years are offered multimodal interventions, highlighting Multisystemic Therapy as an example.
Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
The Troubled Families programme was launched by the Prime Minister in 2011 and is led by Louise Casey CB. A Troubled Families team, based in DCLG, has been established to join up efforts across the whole of government and to provide expert help to local authorities to drive forward the programme. There are strong links between the MST programme and the Troubled Families agenda and a number of new MST sites are being developed by local authorities and their partners as part of their work with Troubled Families.
National evaluation of the Troubled Families programme (22nd July 2014)
This independently compiled report summarises the early findings from the data submitted by local authorities as part of the first round of submissions for the family monitoring data element of the national evaluation of the Troubled Families programme. It outlines the evidence from the first batch of data on families working with a local troubled families intervention worker from the start of the programme (April 2012) to the end of December 2013.