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The Step Down Programme is a partnership between Birmingham City Council and Core Assets which started in July 2014 to bring young people out of residential homes into foster placements. It is underpinned by a Social Impact Bond contract, funded by Bridges Ventures, a social investor who wants to make a difference for children and young people. 

The evaluation looks at these questions: 

  • What evidence if any, is there that the young person has benefited from the move from residential to foster care? What positive stability and developmental progress can be seen for these young people?

  • How far has the young person had ownership of the placement decisions?

  • What have been the most important factors that have facilitated and/or acted as barriers

    to this transition process?

  • What recommendations can be made for the future development of the Programme?

Key findings 

There are compelling reasons for expecting that the quality of a young person’s life might besignificantly improved by the successful completion of the Step Down Programme (e.g. what we know about better educational outcomes from foster care compared to residential care). The findings from the evaluation are mixed but on balance, both the increased stability established for many of the young people and the cost savings, suggest that it should be regarded in the main, as a success.