Child Welfare Project

Care services which protect our children and their families are a cornerstone of society, intervening to help the most vulnerable. The UK government set out its vision in 2016 for children’s social care in England, and made equality in service provision across the country a central policy goal.

But research shows that there’s a long way to go to achieve that aim.

Experts from our Centre for Technology-Enabled Health Research, many of whom have decades of experience in social work, are using their insight to shed light and offer new perspectives on the aspects of our child protection system –particularly those related to equality – that are most in need of attention and reform.

In-depth studies led by our researchers are revealing stark disparities in child safeguarding not only across England, but throughout – and between – the UK’s four countries, and are able to draw significant links between a child’s level of deprivation and their chances of being in care.

Our latest research shows strong social gradients in the rates of intervention across the UK, with children in the poorest areas at least 10 times more likely than those in the most affluent to become involved in the child protection system. It also revealed ethnicity as a key factor affecting the chances of a child being in care – white children were considerably more likely than those of black or Asian ethnicity to become involved in the system.

In holding up a mirror to the child welfare sector and to the government, our researchers are leading the way in influencing policy and tackling this vital social issue.

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