This Data Explained summarises experiences and learnings from working with the Children in Need (CIN) and Children Receiving Care and Support (CRCS) datasets.

It is intended as a starting point to help guide researchers who are looking to use the CIN and the CRCS datasets as part of an approved data linkage research project, and to provide feedback into future dataset development and documentation.

Linkage of these population-level datasets to other administrative data allows us to build a partial longitudinal picture of the experiences of vulnerable children. It has the potential to facilitate a greater understanding of the long-term implications of adverse childhood experiences and social services contact for health and education outcomes. Linkage of social care and family justice data can also provide insight into the long-term experiences of those children who have contact with both systems.