Our work focuses generating the data and evidence that decision-makers need in order to make informed decisions that will improve children’s outcomes across the education, health, social care and criminal justice systems:

  • Data on children’s needs. High-quality data on children’s needs – their development and the environment in which they are growing up – are needed to inform strategic planning of local services.
  • Information about what works.Commissioners of services need easily-digestible information about what services are most likely to improve children’s outcomes.
  • Cost-benefit analysis. Robust cost-benefit analysis enables decision-makers to make judgements about competing service options and can inform long-term cost-saving strategies.
  • How money is spent at the local level. Often, it’s necessary to establish a baseline for how public money is spent on children at the local level – bearing in mind the number of different statutory and voluntary agencies that are involved.

We also directly support local authorities, trusts and foundations, children’s service providers and children’s service professionals in applying evidence at the frontline.

Measuring needs


There’s a plethora of data about children at the local level – yet little of it relates to child development. Our ChildrenCount survey helps local authorities collect data on the outcomes that matter. More »

What works


We’re developing a database of education, health, youth justice and social care programmes proven to work in improving children’s outcomes. More »

Cost-benefit analysis

Cost benefit analysis

Our cost-benefit model enables commissioners to look at the financial savings they can expect to see as a result of commissioning particular programmes for children. More »

Supporting decision-makers

Decision makers

We work directly with local authorities and trusts and foundations to help them shape their commissioning and investment strategies for children’s services. More »

Scaling what works


We undertake work on how you can replicate and scale up interventions proven to work while maintaining the quality of the intervention and its impact on outcomes. More »

Disseminating research

Disseminating research

We run the website Prevention Action, which provides frontline practitioners and researchers with regular bulletins about new research of what works in prevention, and publish the Journal of Children’s Services. More »