A new initiative to help vulnerable families through therapeutic support has been launched in five London boroughs. The aim of the project is to help keep families together, and save the government money. The project is being run by an investment company called Bridges Fund Management , which invests in what their website calls social challenges.

Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Bexley, Merton and Newham, which altogether have 1,350 children in residential care, are taking part in The Positive Families Partnership. Bridges has been contracted by the government through a Social Impact Bond (SIB) to deliver the project. There are currently 30 SIBs in place around the country, funding projects for social welfare programmes.

Heading up the project for Bridges is their investment director Mila Lukic, who has a background in management consultancy and not for profit crowdsourcing. The only other member mentioned on the Positive Families Partnership’s website is Amit Shah, though no other information on Amit is offered. We believe Amit may be an Associate Director at Social Finance. 

The lack of information about who is involved doesn’t inspire confidence, nor does the scant information on the set up of the scheme.

The financial structure for this venture must benefit the investment fund somehow, otherwise there would be no interest on their part, but without the exact details of their agreement we can’t comment on just how much Bridges stands to gain from this programme. It’s a point that’s clearly missing from the Guardian’s piece on the project, with Lukic mentioning all the advantages she feels the scheme offers to councils, families and government, but conveniently failing to mention how Bridges stands to benefit.

Finances aside, the model looks very much like the Family Drug and Alcohol Court set up, with experts on hand to offer one on one support and a measuring system in place to see how well the families are doing over time. The project offers a 5 step process:

  1. A young person is identified by a social worker/ other, who may be in need of support
  2. The child is referred to the programme through their borough
  3. An evaluation takes place, we assume, to decide whether the child needs Multisystemic Therapy or Functional Family Therapy.
  4. The therapeutic solution is delivered (the site uses the word intervention, which we don’t like)
  5. Outcomes are monitored and measured.

We hope this project helps families and most importantly children who are caught in often very difficult scenarios. Certainly a project to watch.

Very many thanks to Nicky Herron for alerting us to the Guardian piece on the project.