Principles of the THRIVE Framework

These principles of the THRIVE Framework were written by Miranda Wolpert, lead author of the THRIVE Framework and Anna Moore, previous lead for the National i-THRIVE Programme, who is now the i-THRIVE Evaluation lead. The principles are descriptive statements of what a ‘THRIVE-like’ system of services for children and young people’s mental health would look like, based on the THRIVE Framework. They are written at the three different levels of the system of services for children and young people’s mental health; Macro, Meso and Micro.

These principles are expected to evolve as we seek feedback from the National i-THRIVE Community of Practice who are implementing them on the ground.

The principles have been used to develop a tool to help sites understand how ‘THRIVE-like’ their services are currently. This will be available soon as part of the i-THRIVE Toolkit.

Macro Principles (or strategic/organisational level)

Population health improvement, how agencies work together and the commissioning of services

  • Mental health policy is interagency.
  • All agencies are involved in commissioning care (education, health, social care and voluntary sector organisations).
  • Contracting of services and the performance management of these services is informed by quality improvement information.
  • Population level preference data is used to support commissioning decisions.
    Preference data concerns the options that people are choosing in their care. A good quality shared decision making process combined with the collection of preference data would provide high quality information to support commissioning decisions.
  • There is a comprehensive network of community providers.
    This includes commissioned and non-commissioned services, services provided in schools, by the local authority, third sector organisations.
  • There is effective integration between services/agencies involved in a young person’s care, leading to a better experience of care.


Meso Principles (or service level)

Needs based groups of children and young people and the services that support them

  • Quality Improvement data is used to inform decisions and involves multiagency review.
  • Care is provided using the THRIVE conceptual framework of five needs based groupings.
  • There is a focus on strengths and family resources wherever possible.
  • Appropriate evidence-based practice is available and used according to the THRIVE Framework needs based groupings.


Micro Principles (or individual level)

Interactions between children, young people and their families with their clinicians, and interactions between professionals

  • Shared decision making is at the heart of all decisions.
  • All staff, children, young people and families are clear about which needs group they are working within for any one person at any one time and this explicit to all.
  • All staff, children, young people and families are clear about the parameters for Getting Help and reasons for ending help.
  • Outcome data is used to inform individual practice with the purpose of improving quality.
  • Any intervention would involve explicit agreement from the beginning about the goal being worked towards and the likely time frame.
  • There is a plan for what happens if the goal is not achieved.
  • The most experienced practitioners are involved in Getting Advice and Signposting.
  • All children, young people and families Getting Risk Support have documented, multi-agency plans which set out the support they will receive from relevant agencies.

If you have any comments on these principles, please email Bethan Morris at

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