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Effective TFCO sites can expect to see a minimum of 70% of children successfully completing the programme and moving to lower cost placements that require less intense support. This may be local authority foster care, friends or family and a significant proportion of TFCO-P children are adopted, which has huge saving implications over many years. The younger the child the greater the potential cost saving or cost avoidance, once they are in lower cost or no cost placements and requiring reduced support from services.
Work carried out by the Department for Education and independently by researchers at Loughborough University indicate that the 3 different TFCO programmes can expect to ‘break-even’ at different time points. ‘Break-even’ refers to the time when the cost per TFCO placement is comparable to a non-TFCO placement with the added predicted savings of the lower cost follow-on placements that 70% of TFCO children will move to.
- TFCO-A: break-even within the 3rd year of operation. TFCO-A makes savings more quickly but the effects do not accumulate over so many years given the age that these children leave care.
- TFCO-C and P: break-even in the 5th and 6th year of operation respectively. While the costs savings for these programme is predicted to take considerably longer to realise there is the potential to accumulate more over the longer term as children are younger and would potentially be in the care system for many years.
All predictions are based on the presumption that teams are working at optimum capacity with 8-10 children placed at any one time. They are also based on start-up and running costs for TFCO sites over the last 10 years. The break-even point should now arrive earlier, as the NIS has worked on staffing configuration within TFCO teams, which has reduced start up and running costs since the original break even analysis.
To discuss the potential impact and cost effectiveness of TFCO on a local basis please feel free to contact us.