The shutdown at the end of March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic meant restrictions and rapid changes for all.

Vulnerable children and families found their support services changed or restricted while children’s social care made swift adaptations to their services.

During this time, some CRCF researchers carried out rapid studies to see how the changes were affecting family life and services.  

Beth Neil, Ruth Copson and Penny Sorensen were funded by the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory to undertake a rapid study on family contact during the pandemic. Among much other media activity, Beth and Ruth wrote a blog about the study for Research in Practice.  

Laura Cook and her research team were already speaking to social workers across England as part of their British Academy-funded project on the retention of experienced social workers. This meant that during lockdown, they were able to capture the social work response to the pandemic as it was unfolding.  

Kate Blake-Holmes used her contacts at Caring Together to set up a rapid study into the impact of the lockdown on young carers. In April 2020 Kate appeared on BBC’s Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour alongside a young carer to raise awareness of the additional difficulties posed during the crisis, and the support offered to young carers by the organisation. Kate has also been interviewed by BBC TV Look East, and BBC Radios Norfolk and Suffolk.  

All three studies have been attracting considerable media interest and lively Twitter commentary.

Briefing reports are available. Findings from Beth’s contact study are also on the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory website.

Find out more in our COVID-19 Research section