Researching Reform wishes children and their parents a happy and hopeful holiday, in what has been an exceptionally difficult year for families going through the child protection system in Britain.

Lockdowns and failures to apply government policies enabling contact with children in care during the pandemic left many children and their parents deeply upset and anxious.

Revelations about the way survivors of domestic abuse and their children were treated in court also caused concern.

And as we looked through the data on Researching Reform’s website, we were able to see what really mattered to families the most in 2021.

By far the largest search term used was “who does the local authority owe a duty of care to?”, while our post outlining a worrying trend in which mothers who alleged abuse increasingly had their children removed from their care was one of the most read stories this year.

As always, our readers offered thought provoking comment and insight on Britain’s family courts and children’s social care. We would like to thank these children, parents and grandparents, many of whom have been a part of the Researching Reform community since we launched more than a decade ago.

This project could not exist without you or your support, and we remain humbled and deeply grateful for your engagement and wisdom.

We know this is a painful and challenging time for parents who have lost a child to the care system, or through other forms of loss, and although we realise our words of comfort may not offer comfort at all, Researching Reform is with you, and thinking of you at this time of the year, and all the year round.

We started this project for you, and it will always be for you.

We wish you strength and the possibility of a better year ahead, and we send our love to every child in care this Christmas,

Natasha, Researching Reform xxx