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Ask the authors – what does research tell us about contact between children in care or adopted and their families?

Decisions about contact are crucially important for children and families when children are placed for adoption, removed from home through care proceedings, or voluntarily looked after by local authorities.

Now lockdown and social distancing measures in 2020 have dramatically disrupted how separated children and families can spend time together, layering new challenges onto already complex decisions.

But what can research tell us about the implications of different contact arrangements?

A new evidence review published earlier this year by Nuffield Family Justice Observatory examined findings from 49 international studies to bring together what is known about the implications of contact for the wellbeing of children and young people who have been separated from their birth parents. During lockdown two further rapid studies were carried out into how contact has been managed during lockdown and the effects of digital contact on wellbeing.

Hear from the authors of these important new studies and find out what key findings could help inform decision making.


  • Professor Janet Boddy
    Centre for Innovation and Research in Childhood and Youth (CIRCY), University of Sussex
  • Padmini Iyer
    Children and Families Team at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)
  • Professor Elsbeth Neil
    University of East Anglia, and a member of the Centre for Research on Children and Families

Event recording