Supporting Innovation in Policy, Services and Practice

The changing nature of the lives of children and families demands policies, services and practices that are dynamic and flexible. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre has established strong credibility in supporting policy makers, service managers and practitioners to develop and implement new ideas in their work.

Central to this objective is the application of research to inform practice and policy and the translation of knowledge into an evidence-informed approach to children’s services. Alongside this an ethos of reflective practice underpins and informs a culture of stakeholder engagement in using and learning from evidence.

In practical terms, the UNESCO CFRC:

  • Undertakes focused reviews of key policy areas relating to children and families
  • Collaborates with policy makers in development of new policies / policy documents
  • Facilitates organisations in developing policy and service plans
  • Works with local and regional providers on developing and designing new services and in modifying existing services
  • Advises services on planning and evaluation
  • Provides quality assurance of locally based service developments
  • Offers focused training for local providers


This strand of the UNESCO Centre’s work is built on expertise in children and family policy, evaluation and programme planning, and training and facilitation.  It reflects the UNESCO Centre’s central commitment to improving children’s lives through better connecting the worlds of research, policy and practice. Much of the work undertaken within this strand is practical, leading to concrete policies, plans and documents. The work is also underpinned by conceptual and theoretical considerations.

 Among the myriad questions for the UNESCO Centre are:

  • How can policy be designed so as to achieve optimal impact on children and families?
  • Does a commitment to reflective practice by practitioners improve children’s lives?
  • What does an evidence-informed service look like?
  • Does explicitly outcomes- focused practice improve children’s lives?
  • What is the added value to children and families of collaboration between disciplines and agencies?
  • What should the role of children and families be in planning and evaluating services?