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.
Safe Haven is an innovative intervention designed to improve outcomes for particularly vulnerable young people in care. The programme offers 24h/day bespoke support package which is also available to carers and birth families. Young people who can find it so hard to settle in foster or home care may go through several placements in the course of one year. This inevitably leads to very poor outcomes and escalating levels of vulnerability. It is also expensive for local authorities. Safe Haven aims to address this issue so that each young person referred can move forward with confidence in their lives.
The intervention is commissioned on a payment by results (PBR) basis where the local authorities of Sandwell and Wolverhampton make payments to Family Action contingent on the achievement of defined social outcomes. Family Action was keen to find investors who would be prepared to share the risk in piloting an untested service model 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 funding alongside Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
If the intervention performs well, investors will share in the upside; if conversely it does less well than expected, investors will share with Family Action in any losses that are incurred. 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.
Family Action repaid their loan in July 2018