Coram to lead the Supporting Families Systemic Practice Pilot Study

  • 4 January 2024

Coram has been commissioned to lead the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and Department for Education Supporting Families Programme Systemic Practice Pilot Study.

The DLUHC Supporting Families Programme supports families facing multiple disadvantage to make significant and sustained improvements in their lives across a range of issues. The programme operates a keyworker model where keyworkers support the whole family around a single agreed plan and coordinates local support services. The programme is delivered by local authorities and partners across England.

A consortium led by Coram and the Institute of Family Therapy (IFT) will deliver a trial of systemically informed keyworker practice in six local authorities. This will include specialist training for keyworkers on systemic family practice in the trial, the hiring of systemic practitioners and on-going support via a virtual systemic practice hub.  

Coram will partner with Ecorys and Clarissa White Research to evaluate the model through a pilot randomised controlled trial. The findings will inform the development of the Supporting Families programme delivery and wider Early Help policy including the Government’s reform of children’s social care and its strategy: Stable Homes, Built on Love.  

An expression of interest inviting local authorities to participate in delivering the systemic practice model and the trial will be published week commencing 15 January 2024 with the group of 12 local authorities taking part in the pilot study informed in April, and set up kicking off in May, and the pilot beginning in September 2024. 

Carol Homden, CEO of Coram said: “The Supporting Families programme is an important part of the support provided to children and families in challenging circumstances. We are excited to be leading this trial in partnership with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department for Education working with IFT and Ecorys. We see it as vitally important to drive the evidence around the effectiveness of systemic family practice in local areas to ensure that children and families in need have whole family support that they need at the right time.”

Taiwo Afuape and Sumita Dutta, Co-Directors of The Institute of Family Therapy (IFT) said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Coram and Ecorys in this trial to develop and evaluate systemically informed keyworker practices across local authorities. IFT will be responsible for delivering the systemic family therapy training as well as working together with local authorities to embed systemic practices across organisations, which in turn will sustain better outcomes for the children, families and communities that we serve.” 

DLUHC Supporting Families team along with Coram and IFT will be hosting a webinar on Wednesday 31 January 2024 3pm-4.30pm for local areas on the pilot study. For more information on the webinar and pilot study, please email