Policy with respect to children and families in the United Kingdom is strongly influenced by the research based assumption that experience of long term and complex needs in childhood is predictive of poor social and economic outcomes in adulthood. In addition, it is assumed that children who are the subject of care proceedings or who have had their names added to the child protection register are likely to come from such families and can provide an understanding of the wider population of children with long term and complex needs. Government wishes to target such families for early intervention and prevention. However, there is currently no dedicated data source for the identification and profiling of families with long term and complex needs. A possible alternative to setting up such a data base is to combine existing data bases in the manner of the NILS.
This study aims to determine the feasibility of this alternative through combining data from the NILS with data from SOSCARE. If it is shown to be methodologically feasible the study will provide data that can be analysed to test claims that data of the engagement of families with social services provides a proxy indicator for the identification of families with long term and complex needs. The data can also be used as a base line for follow up studies measuring the impact of early intervention and prevention with these families.