The economic and social impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic – as well as the measures taken to mitigate its impact – placed huge pressures on social welfare systems. In federations, responsibilities and competences for the provision of social welfare services may lie with the central, subnational, or local level of government, or be a shared responsibility between multiple orders. Moreover, there is significant potential in federal systems for policy differentiation in the design and delivery of social welfare services. Despite its significance in the public policy landscape, the dynamics of social welfare and federal governance remains a relatively under-explored area of study, particularly from a comparative international perspective. In this context, the Forum is undertaking research into three areas of social welfare prominent during the pandemic: childcare; (un)employment insurance; and long term (elderly) care.