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Themed grant round

A supportive home – helping families to overcome challenges

Run in partnership with Comic Relief.

Entry deadline:
1st December 2021


The Youth Endowment Fund exists to prevent children and young people becoming involved in violence. We do this by finding out what works and building a movement to put this knowledge into practice.

Having a supportive home helps to keep children safe from involvement in violence. Where children live in homes where there’s conflict or domestic abuse, alcohol or substance misuse or where other family members are involved in crime, they’re at higher risk.

That’s why we’ll invest in programmes that support families. And that includes building our understanding of what works for children in the care system, who’re significantly overrepresented in the youth justice system.

The question we’re aiming to answer:

Which approaches are most effective in helping families and carers to create a supportive home environment for 6 to 14 year-old children (including looked-after children), reducing the likelihood of them becoming involved in violence?

What we’re aiming to invest in

We’re hoping to invest in 7 programmes through this round, 5 of which are currently in the co-design stage of our application process. We’re planning to spend between £6 million and £10 million depending on the how well applications meet our criteria.

Scope of programmes we’re funding in this round

We are funding and evaluating programmes where the evidence of positive impact on children is promising. In this round we are focusing our funding on four main areas:

  1. Parenting programmes (including programmes for foster carers or people working with children in residential care), which help parents and their children to develop positive behaviours and relationships.
  2. Family therapy interventions (including for children in foster care), which offer whole families structured forms of therapy.
  3. Programmes to reduce parental conflict, which are specifically designed to improve relationships between parents or carers.
  4. Domestic abuse interventions, which are specifically designed to prevent and reduce harm to children and adults.

Working with you to make the right decisions

With our partners at Comic Relief, we’ve been listening to experts working in children’s services, the voluntary sector, in central and local government and the police. We’ve also heard from children and young people with lived or near experience of violence, who told us how they want us to use the £10 million we’ve pledged to invest in this round.

Alongside a detailed review of the existing evidence, your knowledge helped to refine the direction we’ll take in the grant round.

Why we’re focusing on this area

Our conversations with people working to keep children safe – and young people themselves – made it clear that we should focus on helping families. There’s also clear evidence that family support could be effective. But lots of the evidence is international rather than UK-based, and many of the underlying studies have limitations.

By funding programmes in England and Wales, we can build our knowledge of how best to support families, foster carers and children’s homes so that children have a supportive home.

Partnership with Comic Relief

Comic Relief are investing £2 million to help us find out how high-quality family support can help children who are most at risk of becoming involved in violence.

We want to thank Comic Relief for supporting this important area of work.

Funded projects

Tavistock Relationships

  • Project name: Mentalization-Based Therapy: Parents under Pressure (MBT-PP)  
  • Family support programme type: Reducing parental conflict   
  • Evaluator: Sheffield Hallam University  
  • Total funding awarded (including evaluation costs): £1,512,711

The programme offers 10 sessions of mentalization-based therapy for parents experiencing high levels of relationship conflict that is frequent, intense, and poorly resolved. The MBT intervention helps people to better understand their own and others’ mental states and improve their communication so that they are less prone to expressing their feelings in high conflict or other destructive acting-out. The MBT-PP therapists will work with parents to help them regulate their emotions more effectively by learning skills that improve their communication with their co-parent, whether they are living together or separated. The work focuses, in particular, on helping parents to think about their children’s experience of the conflict and they are helped to bring the child to the front of their minds during arguments – as this is key to helping parents achieve real and lasting change for the benefit of their children, and themselves.    

Triple P

  • Project name: Standard Teen Triple P for parents & carers of 11–15-year-olds at the edge of care
  • Family support programme type: Parenting support
  • Evaluator: University of Warwick
  • Total funding awarded (including evaluation costs): £1,651,862

This parenting programme offers evidence-based positive strategies to parents and/or caregivers, to help them support young people (aged 11 – 15). This project will help families where the young person is on the edge of care. Standard Teen Triple P covers practical ways to improve emotional regulation for both adults and young people, and offer alternatives to violence or harsh discipline. Parents also learn how to support teenagers to handle risky situations, make good decisions and minimise risk-taking behaviour, and develop communication and problem-solving skills.

Feasibility study: NSPCC

  • Project name: Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together (DART)
  • Family support programme type: Domestic abuse
  • Evaluator: King’s College London
  • Funding awarded for initial feasibility study: £113,530

Through NSPCC’s established Domestic Abuse, Recovering Together (DART) programme, children and mothers can talk to each other about domestic abuse, learn to communicate and rebuild their relationship. The group sessions allow women to learn more about how domestic abuse happens and how it affects children. Children take part in activities together that help them build their own understanding of domestic abuse and how they’re feeling.

The YEF is currently working with the NSPCC and King’s College London (its YEF evaluator) to find out if it will be feasible to fund and deliver a large-scale impact evaluation of the DART programme.

Feasibility study: MST-UK & Ireland

  • Project name: Multisystemic Therapy – Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN)   
  • Family support programme type: Multisystemic therapy 
  • Evaluator:  University of Kent and Teesside University
  • Funding awarded for initial feasibility studies: £37,035

The MST-CAN project offers intensive therapy for families where children aged 6-17 years are at risk of going into care due to physical abuse and/or neglect. A therapist works intensively with the whole family and systems around the family for 6 to 9 months, and families are offered 24/7 on-call support. Therapists are supported by their supervisor and wider team, including specialist mental health expertise and external consultation from MST-UK & Ireland (MST-UK & I). The aim is to increase safety for children, enhance parenting skills, repair relationships between parents or carers and children and address underlying issues for adults and children, including past trauma and substance abuse. 

The YEF and MST UK & I have been working closely together on the first stage of a feasibility study to find out if it would be possible to undertake a robust impact evaluation of MST-CAN implementation in England and Wales. With that now complete, we’re now moving onto the next stage of the study. Here we’ll continue to collaborate with MST UK & I and their evaluator to learn more about what’s needed to robustly evaluate their programme, and to examine the feasibility of reaching and supporting the number of families required for a large-scale impact evaluation.  

Feasibility study: Solace Women’s Aid

  • Project name: Emotion Coaching
  • Family support programme type: Domestic abuse
  • Evaluator: Cordis Bright
  • Funding awarded for initial feasibility study: £246,170

The Emotion Coaching programme aims to support mothers and children aged 6-14 years by providing therapy once they enter a refuge. The programme will be delivered weekly over 12 weeks by family support workers (8 group sessions and 4 individual sessions). The programme aims to foster emotion regulation in both the mother and child(ren), minimise harsh parenting and encourage a stronger emotional connection between parent and child in intimate partner violence (IPV) relationship exposure.

The YEF is currently working with the Solace Women’s Aid and Cordis Bright (its YEF evaluator) to find out if it will be feasible to fund and deliver a large-scale impact evaluation of the Emotion Coaching programme.

Feasibility study: Race Equality Foundation

  • Project name: Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities (SFSC)
  • Family support programme type: Parenting Programme
  • Evaluator: University College London and City, University of London
  • Funding awarded for initial feasibility study: £152,126

The SFSC programme is a manualised parenting programme delivered in a group setting by trained practitioners. The sessions will be delivered weekly over 13 weeks and is designed to support parents with children aged 10-18 years who are at risk – or involved – with violence and crime. The programme aims to improve their well-being, confidence and competence in parenting; develop better relationships with their children; explore strategies to put appropriate boundaries in place; and support their children to minimise risky behaviours.

The YEF is currently working with the Race Equality Foundation, UCL and City, University of London (its YEF evaluator) to find out if it will be feasible to fund and deliver a large-scale impact evaluation of the SFSC programme on offending outcome. We intend to use the learning from this study and the NIHR trial to develop the thinking for a future YEF funded efficacy study.


  • Project name: Child and Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (CAPVA)
  • Family support programme type: non-violent resistance approach (NVR) for parents
  • Evaluator: University of Hertfordshire  
  • Total funding awarded (including evaluation costs): £2,134,308.78

The Child and Adolescent to Parent Violence and Abuse (CAPVA) programme is focused on changing the behaviour of YP (aged 9-17) showing violence towards their parents/carers.

 It comprises of up to 18 weekly sessions with families. The 18 sessions will include 12 sessions with the parents and carers.  The sessions will be first aimed at changing the ways in which parents and carers respond to the YP’s behaviour. The CAPVA intervention delivery centres around a non-violent resistance approach (NVR). If the parents and carers subsequently engage, then work with the children and young people will adopt a flexible skills-based approach using trauma informed care alongside cognitive-behavioural therapy techniques and mindfulness. The intervention will be delivered by CAPVA practitioners who are trained to deliver in these approaches. 

Please note, the stated funding amounts may be subject to change.