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Children’s Services

How do we best support families and carers to support children at risk of violence outside the home?

At the Youth Endowment Fund, we aim to prevent children from being drawn into violence. We think any credible plan to reduce violence has to recognise that children rely on seven essential sectors to be safe, one of which is children’s services. In each sector we are working with delivery organisations and system leaders to better understand and deliver on the changes most likely to reduce violence.   

There is so much we can all do to keep children and carers safe. Our job is to make it easy to know what works and to help you to make it happen so we can best support families facing challenges to help them create a safe and loving environment where children can get the care they need. 

Why are we focusing on Children’s Services?

There are a wide range of interventions and services to help families deal with challenging situations they’re facing. This involves addressing critical issues such as parental conflict, domestic abuse, and broader safeguarding concerns. Our goal is to build knowledge about the most effective ways to support families, carers and young people within the children’s services system. 

The system we’re focusing on is the children’s social care system which is responsible for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people who may be at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. It encompasses a range of interventions, assistance and services aimed at ensuring that children grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing environments where their needs are met, and their rights are protected. These include: 

  • Parenting programmes 
  • Family therapy 
  • Domestic abuse interventions 
  • Family support services 
  • Support for children at risk outside the home 

Toolkit evidence

See below evidence from the YEF Toolkit about approaches to reducing violence that are often used in the Children’s Services sector:

Estimated impact approaches evidence quality
(30%+ less violence)
Trauma-specific therapies  
1 2 3 4 5
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
1 2 3 4 5
(10%-30% less violence)
Functional Family Therapy (FFT)  
1 2 3 4 5
Multi-Systemic Therapy
1 2 3 4 5
(2%-9% less violence)
Parenting programmes
1 2 3 4 5
Adventure and Wilderness Therapy
1 2 3 4 5
Trauma-informed training and service redesign
1 2 3 4 5

Explore more approaches on YEF’s Toolkit summarising the best available research evidence on preventing children and young people’s involvement in violence.

Changing Practice

What should children’s services providers do to prevent violence?

In March 2026 we’ll publish our Family Support Practice Guidance. Through this guidance we’re aiming to provide children’s services leaders across England and Wales with actionable advice on how to support the prevention of youth violence. When incidents of youth violence occur, the impacts are keenly felt by the peers, workers, families and communities that surround the children involved. Children’s services leaders are often left asking, what role can we play to prevent violence in the future? This guidance will aim to answer this question.

Changing the system

In March 2026 we’ll publish a report outlining the 5-10 ways the children’s services system could make it easier to do what works to keep children safe from violence. We will be working with a Strategic Group of senior leaders across children’s services to help us shape these recommendations. The report will be informed by the evidence YEF has already produced, evaluations that will complete by March 2026, and new research that YEF will commission following advice from the Strategic Group.

Find out how you can get involved with YEF

You are invited to join our events specifically for the children’s services sector, to see how we can collectively tackle violence prevention for young people.

Get Involved – Children’s Services News

If you’re passionate about improving opportunities and outcomes for young people, and would like to learn more about what works to prevent youth violence, then sign-up below to get the latest updates and opportunities.

Children’s Services News Sign-up

We are funding several projects exploring key questions related to parenting interventions; Multi-Systemic Therapy; Functional Family Therapy; interventions for children affected by domestic abuse, and multi-agency support for children at risk of harm outside the home. Projects include new evaluations, secondary data analysis projects and systems research. 

View all of YEF’s Funding and Evaluation projects.