Families and Children Study (FACS)

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					Families and Children Study

 Aims, coverage and methodology

                                Figen Deviren
             Department for Work and Pensions
•   Study design
•   Sample design
•   Questionnaire content
•   Timetable of survey
•   Response rates
•   Weighting
•   Examples of FACS analysis
• Commissioned and managed by the
  Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  and is co-sponsored by Department for
  Education and Skills and Department for

• National Centre for Social Research carry
  out fieldwork and other elements of the
  design and data production processes.
Study design
• A refreshed panel study of approximately 7000
  families in Britain, investigating the
  circumstances of all families with dependent

• FACS has been conducted annually from 2001
  (incorporated sample from 1999 and 2000).

• Clustered sampling method using 150 postcode
  districts, sampled from child benefit records
Sample design
• Panel: Families are sampled from child benefit
  records and are followed every year until their
  children are no longer dependent.

• Booster: Cases added from families with a new
  first birth.

• Refreshed panel design means that FACS is
  suitable for longitudinal, cross-sectional and time-
  series analysis.
Data collection

• The fieldwork is conducted by National Centre for
  Social Research:

• A one hour interview for the main respondent (the
  mother figure)
• A partner interview (proxy from 2007)
• A ten minute self-completion questionnaire for all
  children aged 11-15 in the family (2003, 2004 and
  2006 onwards)
Questionnaire content
It covers a range of topics including:
• health
• disability and caring
• education
• income
• child maintenance
• benefits and tax credits
• childcare
• housing
• material well-being
• travel to work and school
• labour market activity
• children's attitudes and activities
• money management, savings and debt
Questionnaire development          March-June

Questionnaire finalised            August

Fieldwork                          Sept – Feb (+1)

Data processing and production     Feb – Apr

Annual report published and data   Spring
Response rates
For 2005

• Panel response rate was 87%

• Booster response rate was 65%

• Child self-completion response rate was 88%.
Response rates
• Cross-sectional weights to adjust to

• Longitudinal weights adjust for sample
  back to 2001 and 1999

• Calculations of the response rates, design
  effects and complex sampling errors are
  available in the FACS annual reports.
Annual report
• Presents cross-sectional findings of each wave’s

• Most topics are are reported against standard
  break variables eg household type, age of
  youngest child, disability status and income
Some cross-sectional
• One in five children lived in a household where no
  one worked over 16 hours per week
• Lone parent families were more likely to be in the
  lowest income quintile
• Nearly all lone parents and over two thirds of
  couple families received either a benefit or tax
• Lone parents were twice as likely to describe their
  health as not good
Some cross-sectional
• Almost half of children walked to school
• Nearly one in ten children aged 11-15 had
  truanted at least once
• Around one third of children aged 11-15 had
  been bullied at least once
• Over a half of working mothers used childcare
  either informal or formal
• Nine out of 10 non working mothers said there
  were specific reasons preventing them working
  more than 16 hours per week. In half the cases
  this was ‘wanting to be with their children’
Published analyses (1)
• Low income homeowners in Britain: descriptive analysis,
  Meadows, P and Rogger, D (2005)
• Newborns and new schools: critical times in women's
  employment, Brewer, M. and Paull, G. (2005)
• Maternal education, lone parenthood, material hardship,
  maternal smoking and longstanding respiratory problems
  in childhood: testing a hierarchical conceptual framework.
  Spencer N. J. (2005)
• The Socio-Economic Circumstances of Families
  Supporting a Child at Risk of Disability in Britain in 2002
  Emerson, E. and Hatton, C. (2005)
• The economic position of large families, Iacovou, M and
  Berthoud, R. (2006)
Published analyses (2)
• Social equalisation in youth: evidence from a cross-
  sectional British survey. Spencer N. J. (2006)
• The Living Standards of Children in Bad Housing Barnes
  M, Lyon N, and Conolly A. (2006)
• Persistent employment disadvantage, Berthoud, R and
  Blekesaune, M (2007) Lone parents with older children
  and welfare reform. Haux T. (2007)
• The Multi-Dimensional Analysis of Social Exclusion.
  Levitas R, Pantazis C, Fahmy E, Gordan D, Lloyd E. and
  Patsios D. (2007)
• Mothers' child support arrangements: a comparison of
  routes through which mothers obtain awards for
  maintenance in Britain, Morris S. (2007)
Current analysis
• Partnership and employment trajectories, Gillian

• Families health, disability, caring and
  employment, Steve McKay and Adele Atkinson

• Trajectories of low income families, Gillian Paull

• Disability and family break-up, Steve McKay
Further information
• The National Centre for Social Research conducts the
• Respondent website providing potential respondents and
  current respondents with a brief overview of the survey
  and answers to frequently asked questions.
• FACS website for potential users of FACS data, includes
Useful addresses
• FACS data is available from the ESRC data
  archive: http://www.data-archive.ac.uk

• The FACS questionnaires are also available
  from the Questionbank:
                Any questions?
Contact details:
020 7962 8291

020 7962 8648

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