A big welcome to all of the new Community Family Support students at UCB. If you'd like to know about websites which will be invaluable to helping with research during your course then read on...

Sites containing free research information in your subject area are plentiful. I really can't praise the Joseph Rowntree Foundation enough, as their website is packed with news stories, reports and countless other resources on various social issues. Also well worth a look is Social Care Online, a freely accessible database of research that can be either searched or explored through subject headings; this service is provided by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, who are also behind the relatively new Social Care TV.

Other free sources of detailed reports and much besides include the Family and Parenting Institute and the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, while the Social Policy and Social Work gateway to research contains an impressive collection of links to sites covering all social issues. The website of the Economic and Social Research Council also contains information on both its own research and the projects of other organisations.

Picking out official / government websites is a little tricky at the moment, as the change of government following this year's election means that it is difficult to work out at present which information on government websites represents current policy. However, the Communities and Local Government website is worth bookmarking, and there should also be useful materials available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Other organisations you may find useful include the the Family Commission, which is carrying out research into family life in the UK, and Family Action, a charity which supports disadvantaged and socially isolated families. Also useful is the Families and Children Study, which provides very detailed statistics on family issues.

If you'd like a couple of sites which will help you keep up to date with your topic then you can read the archives of Community Care online for free. Similarly, all of the new and past content of the Guardian's Society supplement can be accessed from SocietyGuardian; the site also contains additional features which are not available in the print publication.

And finally, here are some recent reports on family-related topics which may be helpful in bringing you up to speed with current topics affecting your subject area. Ten Years of Family policy: 1999–2009 is a useful briefing of government initiatives over the last decade; Impact of Family Breakdown on Children’s Well-Being is an evidence review carried out for the (then) DCSF in 2009; similarly, Families in Britain: an Evidence Paper was published in 2008 - while many of the policy outlines it contains will now have altered, it is full of facts and figures which highlight issues facing families in the UK today. Or for something a little shorter, follow this link to download a copy of When Times Are Tough, a brief insight into how four low-income families manage their daily lives.

I'm off for a lie-down...


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