Children and Families Policy Research Unit


NIHR Children and Families Policy Research Unit


Theme 2: Responding to vulnerable children and families

Secondary prevention through healthcare responses to children and parents at increased risk of child maltreatment, domestic violence and abuse

Image of vulnerable children
Theme co-leads

Professor Gene Feder and Professor Ruth Gilbert


To generate the evidence that would support enhanced identification of vulnerable families and more effective targeting of cost-effective interventions.


The term ‘vulnerable’ refers to children and families exposed to a wide range of adversities associated with health and social disadvantage. Vulnerable children and families are at high risk of adverse physical and mental health outcomes with consequences reaching into mid-adulthood. This research theme will address how services might develop more effective responses to vulnerable children and families in contact with healthcare, with long-term cost benefits for society and improved outcomes for affected families.