The Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF) is an interdisciplinary centre located in the University of East Anglia's Faculty of Social Sciences.

Professor Jonathan Dickens in the School of Social Work is the Centre Director.

CRCF is also a member of the global network of ChildWatch research institutions. The results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) were announced in May 2021, placing UEA's social work and social policy research in the top four in the UK. The REF uses a process of expert review to assess the quality and impact of research by UK higher education institutions. There are expert review panels for 34 subject-based units of assessment. Research from the CRCF was entered into the social work and social policy stream. The panels classify research as: world-leading (4*), internationally excellent (3*), internationally significant (2*) or nationally significant (1*).Our two 'impact case studies' - on the 'secure base' model of care, and on contact after adoption - were both rated world-leading. 90% of our research was graded as 4* or 3*.




  • To undertake research on a wide range of child and family issues across regional, national and international contexts.

  • To use research to advance our understanding of the  development of children and the diverse nature and meanings of family life across the life course in a changing and multi-cultural society.

  • To advance our knowledge of the effectiveness and efficiency of services across the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.

  • To work in collaboration with, or on behalf of, child and family agencies in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors.

  • To develop and disseminate research knowledge which will inform and have an impact on policy and practice, enhancing the well-being of children and families.