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There are no simple ways to demonstrate that a service is being cost effective. Instead, it is important to gather a range of data that help to show how much an intervention has cost and what the measureable outcomes are – both qualitative and quantitative.
The National Implementation Service (NIS) gathers the following pre and post intervention data:
· number of child behaviours
· carer’s stress levels
· parenting style
· SDQ scores
· attendance levels
· model adherence ratings
When aggregated across all of the sites in England – and when presented back to individual programmes – the data is extremely promising. The NIS also collects data at 6 months and 12 months after the end of the KEEP training course and early data suggests that the improvements are maintained over time.
It will also be important to collect baseline data on the outcomes you would like to see locally. So, for example, if you consider KEEP would contribute towards increasing placement stability in your area then you would need collate the existing data on this (and the associated costs of placement changes) for the last two or three years prior to the KEEP programmes starting so that you can then compare these figures when the programme has been running. The financial cost of a placement disruption ranges from £805 - £1,700 which increases as the Social Worker searches for each new placement. The recruitment and approval of each new foster carer unit costs around £2,200. These costs are in addition to the psychological costs to the child and the carer.
Staffing costs and local infrastructure will also impact the level of your investment. It is important to work out what the running costs are for your groups and to set these alongside the demonstrable outcomes. Only then will you be able to reach an informed view about the cost effectiveness of this programme in your area.