BeST? Trial

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The BeST? trial is a research trial owned by Glasgow University which has been running in Glasgow since 2011.  The trial has now been increased to include involvement from four London boroughs and Renfrewshire HSCP. The trial purpose is to evaluate whether an infant mental health service offers improved outcomes for Looked After and Accommodated Children when compared to the mainstream social work services in each of the areas. 

The BeST? Trial in Glasgow compares the GIFT and FACS services’ outcomes for children and families, when making decisions around whether or not a child can return home safely to their family.  The trial focusses on children aged 0 - 60 months and is offered to every child who is accommodated.  It has also recently expanded to take in children who have been placed in kinship care by Social Work services. Parent and carer consent is required to take part in the trial. 

Glasgow Infant and Families Team (GIFT) derives from a model developed in New Orleans. It utilises a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists and social work staff seconded or funded by the NHSGGC, Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) and NSPCC and is run by the NSPCC. It uses an infant mental health perspective to assess and, where possible, offer treatment to parents and children who are looked after and accommodated or in kinship care to strengthen the parent/child interaction and caregiving. 

Family Assessment and Contact Centre (FACS) is GCHSCPs ‘business as usual’ service which offers parenting capacity assessments of parents whose children have been accommodated, through direct work with parents and observation of parent / child contact.

When a parent consents to their child being included in the BeST? trial, the child is thereafter randomly allocated by the trial to a GIFT or FACS service.   The outcomes of both services contribute to the care planning and decision making by area based social work services.

After the conclusion of the intervention, the BeST? Trial team will follow up with the children to measure outcomes. These follow up sessions take place 15 months and 30 months after the child’s accommodation, regardless of whether the child returns to the parent’s care or remains looked after away from the parent.

There is also a video which provides more information.