Dates: March 2020 - April 2020 Research Team: Prof Elsbeth Neil, Dr Ruth Copson, Dr Penny Sorenson Funder: The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory (NFJO)
Contact with their birth family can meet a range of children’s needs including maintaining valued relationships, managing separation, aiding reunification and understanding identity. ‘Lockdown’ severely restricted in-person contact and travel outside the home. This created barriers to children separated from their birth families spending time face-to-face with their birth families. Government guidance set out the expectation that family contact plans for children in care should continue, but that contact would mostly need to take place virtually, follow the spirit of any contact orders, with social workers making individualised decisions. The NFJO commissioned the research to rapidly find out how contact was being managed and experienced.