The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on services from pregnancy through age 5 years for families who are high risk or have complex social needs

Black and white side profile silhouette of a pregnant woman

Funded by: DHSC as part of the Rapid Response programme of work being undertaken by the NIHR Children’s Policy Research Unit

Start date: May 2020

End date: August 2020

Project outline

Changes to health and social care practice following the lockdown restrictions that were put in place in response to the SARS coronavirus-2 outbreak have led to concerns about the ability of key practitioners (midwives; health visitors; community paediatricians; and social workers) to continue to safeguard the wellbeing of preschool children living in families with complex social issues. These changes to the way in which care is delivered, have been implemented at a time when the stresses on all families due to the secondary impact of the virus has been significant. This rapid study aimed to assess the impact of such changes on the ability of key community practitioners to safeguard and deliver services to the most vulnerable preschool children. 

This two-stage piece of research involves a) a rapid survey of key professionals and commissioners of services to vulnerable preschool children; b) in-depth interviews with a sample of respondents to explore further, issues arising from the survey.

The results will be used to inform policy with regard to future lockdowns and practice following emergence from the current lockdown.

External collaborator: Dr Jenny Woodman (UCL)