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EIF report

The Supporting Families Programme: A rapid evidence review


26 May 2023

This report presents the findings of a rapid review to gain insights into the most effective elements of the Supporting Families Programme.






This report prepared by What Works for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care (WWEICSC) for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) is part of a wider project to develop the evidence base on the most effective ways to support children and their families eligible for the Supporting Families Programme. The Supporting Families Programme provides targeted interventions for families with complex interconnected problems.

We conducted a rapid evidence review to understand what is currently known about the most effective elements of the Supporting Families Programme. The main findings are summarised into the following three areas:

  1. Evidence on the effectiveness of previous relevant programmes
  2. Current evidence on identified approaches and interventions
  3. Current evidence on important factors for effective intensive family support.


This review found that an earlier version of the Supporting Families Programme – Troubled Families – was effective at improving outcomes and provided good value for money. There is some evidence that the Supporting Families Programme can improve outcomes and provide value for money, however it is unclear which programmes and interventions drive this effectiveness. Future evaluation should seek to identify which elements of the Supporting Families Programme are most effective. This rapid review identified some system-level and individual-level interventions with evidence of impact, such as restorative practice, parenting programmes, family group conferencing and therapeutic and mental health interventions.