Why we developed the Toolkit
All too often, we hear news of children who have been the victims of fatal stabbings or violent assaults. Too many young people are living in fear. And it can be because of that fear, or their experiences of exploitation, that some children end up carrying knives. This cycle must stop.
At the Youth Endowment Fund, our mission is to prevent violence from happening. We do this by finding out what works and building a movement to put this knowledge into practice.
The YEF Toolkit is one way we’ll do that.
Commissioning children’s services
We know that there are people all around the country working to make sure that the right services are in place to protect children from harm. You’re commissioning and leading projects in schools, mental health, youth centres, for families. So many people, including social workers, teachers, police officers, youth workers, parents and residents, are all taking part, helping to keep children safe.
At the YEF we think that rigorous research can support this work by helping you make informed decisions about where to spend your budget, so that services make the biggest difference to children and young people. Research certainly doesn’t give all the answers. Designing services that work also requires professional experience and judgement, deep understanding of the local context and children’s needs, and the wisdom and support of the local community. But research can give us a sense of the ‘best bets’ – approaches that have worked well in the past and are good starting points for the future.
Unfortunately, research evidence about how best to support children is often:
- Hard to access, hidden behind journal paywalls or on complicated websites
- Hard to understand, written in complicated academic language without consideration of what the findings mean for decisions in the real world.
That makes it hard to put into action.
The YEF Toolkit is different. It’s a free, online summary of the best available research on approaches to keeping children safe from involvement in violence. It is written for commissioners, managers and practitioners and is accessible and easy to understand. It’s here to help you find the right solutions to prevent violence in your community.
The Toolkit is a tool to support decision-making. It can’t give definitive claims about what will work everywhere. Instead, it summarises information about what’s likely to make a positive difference to children and young people based on the best available existing evidence.
Steph Roberts-Bibby, Chief Operating Officer at the Youth Justice Board explains why the YEF’s Toolkit will make using evidence easier.
The Toolkit is a live resource which we will update continuously throughout the lifetime of the YEF. We hope that we can work with you to build a better evidence base, so that we can learn more about what works to support children and young people. Right now, there are gaps in the research, and we need more studies in England and Wales. Visit our funding page to learn more about how we can work together to generate better evidence.
Because together, we can make sure children get the evidence-informed services they deserve.