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External Research on the Impact of Home-Start Support

Home-Start UK have recently commissioned an external evaluation of the impact of Home-Start’s intervention on families health and wellbeing.

The full evaluation can be found here

It comes as no surprise to those of us working within the Home-Start network that the difference Home-Start makes to families is quite often life changing and invariably positive; the data backs this up.

The research, carried out by the Economic and Social Research Council and Cardiff University covered an extensive sample of over 10,000 families who’s needs covered areas including mental health, post-natal illness, domestic abuse, caring for a disabled child, substance misuse, child subject to a Child Protection Plan, asylum seeking families and families with one parent in prison.  Outcomes were measured using scaled measurements taken before, during and after support with an established methodology on parental coping.

A snapshot of the impact provides that:

  • 94.6% were better able to cope with their mental health;
  • 95.6% were better able to cope with Social Isolation, and
  • 93.9% had improved self-esteem.

There are some interesting findings on the duration and frequency of support and how this impacts success or speed of change, but the overriding conclusion is that Home-Start support is incredibly positive and creates a significant impact upon families.

Here at Home-Start Horizons we are constantly seeking new ways of measuring our impact with qualitative measurements and stories of success as well as the quantative data we gather as well as the national data, cited here, that we contribute to.  We evaluate our success by monitoring and reporting on our impact and the difference we make and use our findings to try to convince commissioners, funders and supporters to continue to fund our life-changing services.  We know that by providing early support to a family for a year, we improve the child’s life chances and save other public sector services money for years to come. This costs less than £1,000 a family and considering our success rate we believe that this investment in a child’s future, as well as the impact on wider society, is an investment well worth making.  When measured against the cost of keeping a child in Care, that is often in excess of £50,000 a year, with accompanying long-term damage to children, investing in Home-Start’s support is something that must be prioritised by Governmment, Local Authorities and funders.

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