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What Works for Children?

An ESRC funded project as part of the Evidence-based policy and practice initiative

This 430,000 project was a collaboration between Barnardo's, City University London and the University of York. Professor Helen Roberts at City University, Professor Trevor Sheldon at the University of York, and Di McNeish, Director of Research and Policy at Barnardo's were the grant holders, managing the overall direction of the project.


The What Works for Children? initiative works predominantly at the implementation end of the evidence-based agenda. Our work and project outputs are designed for those whose task it is to plan and deliver services.

  • How to make research available to those who provide or manage services. 
  • How to make the available research meaningful.
  • How to get meaningful research into practice.

Children are the focus for this initiative:

  • A population group where there is already a strong central policy ‘push’ for the greater use of evidence and where there is good research evidence that early intervention makes a difference. 

At the start, the project worked with 6 Children’s Fund programmes in the Yorkshire area to look at levers and barriers to implementing research evidence into service planning and practice. We subsequently worked more intensively with two of these programmes. For more information on the government’s Children's Fund initiative, please click here here.


Our implementation officer, Sarah Frost, is based in Leeds and works with practitioners to identify their support needs and on issues related to implementing research. 


As part of this work, we developed resources to assist practitioners and service planners. These are available on this site. 


In order to supply Sarah with evidence on interventions that relate to practitioners’ needs, the research team at City University conducted searches and produced summaries of research. Some of these resources can be found on this site.


key documents:

final report 2005

annual report 2003
annual report 2002

project newsletters:
January 2004
June 2003

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page last updated 23/08/2006
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