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Personal profile

Research Interests

Young children known to and in the care of social services. Within this, specific areas of interest include young children's:

rights as defined under the UNCRC; 

relationships and communication with families, professionals and carers;

developmental outcomes, in particular education, identity and social well being;

experiences and outcomes in residential child care;

access to family support, early intervention services and their effectiveness. 

Research Statement

I am involved in and/or led research projects funded by the ESRC, NIHR, local government and the voluntary sector. The research, which has involved both qualitative and quantitative approaches, is focused on: the educational outcomes of children and young people in care; the characteristics and outcomes for disabled children in care; social workers' communication with children in care; rights of children in care; supporting the design and evaluation of early childhood development programmes in low to middle income countires including Krygystan, Tajikistan, Mali, Timor-Leste, Eygpt and Vietnam.



2017 - Teaching Award (student nominated): Queen's University Belfast

2012 – Teaching Award (team based): Queen’s University Belfast

Leadership roles

2016 - present day - Director Undergraduate Education 

2016 - present day - Lead for the Children in Care and Child Protection research strand, Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation

2014 - present day - Deputy Director Centre for Children's Rights

2012 - present day - Programme Director: DChild (Professional Doctorate in Childhood Studies)

Administrative roles

2012 - present day - Chair School Undergraduate Education Committee; member School Staff/Student Consultative Committee; member Senior Management Board; member Faculty Undergraduate Education Committee; member University Course and Regulations Group; and member University Collaborative Provision Group.

External roles

2016 - present day - Elected member of the Board: European Social Work Research Association (ESWRA)

2016 - present day - Chair Special Interest Development Group (ESWRA)

2014 - present day - Non-Exec Board member: Northern Ireland Guardian ad Litem Agency (NIGALA)

2014 - present day - Member: Audit Committee (NIGALA)

2014 - present day - Chair: Social Care Governance Committee (NIGALA)

2014 - present day - Chair: Advisory Committee Fostering Network Northern Ireland


I teach/have taught at under graduate, post graduate and doctoral level. I have been responsible for convening several modules at these levels as well has carrying tutoring responsibilities. Currently I am responsible for SWK3008 Social Work, Criminal Justice and the Courts.

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Karen Winter is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2009 2018

Research Output 1996 2019

From Communication to Co-operation: Re-conceptualising Social Workers’ Engagement with Children

Ruch, G., Winter, K., Morrison, F., Hadfield, M., Cree, V. & Hallett, S., 23 Aug 2019, (Accepted) In : Child and Family Social Work. p. 1-16 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Social Work
social worker
Child Care

Relational social work

Winter, K., 17 Jul 2019, Routledge Handbook of Social Work Theory. Payne, M. & Reith Hall, E. (eds.). London: Routledge, p. 1-10 10 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

social work
everyday communication
social worker

Containment: Exploring the concept of agency in children’s statutory encounters with social workers

Morrison, F., Cree, V., Ruch, G., Winter, K., Hadfield, M. & Hallett, S., 14 Nov 2018, In : Childhood. 26 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Social Work
Social Workers


Research Fellowship Award - University of Oxford.

Karen Winter (Recipient), 01 Feb 2016

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

honors and awards

Teaching Award - Queen's University Belfast.

Karen Winter (Recipient), 01 Jun 2012

Prize: Other distinction

team teaching

Teaching Award - Queen's University Belfast.

Karen Winter (Recipient), 30 Jun 2017

Prize: Other distinction


Activities 2008 2019

Invited scholar - Faculty of Social Work, Tha Dau Mot University, Binh Duong Province, Viet Nam

Karen Winter (Advisor)
20 Mar 201931 Mar 2019

Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

Patricia Cox

Karen Winter (Host)
27 May 201930 May 2019

Activity: Hosting a visitor typesHosting an academic visitor

Invited consultancy - Voice of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) Development of the RAW (Reflective Practice) Tool.

Karen Winter (Advisor)
01 Mar 2018 → …

Activity: Consultancy typesKTP & Consultancy in kind


Invited talk - event for social workers - co-design of relationships reflective tool

Karen Winter (Advisor)
24 Sep 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Invited independent expert advisor - validation panel - Dublin Institute Technology (Event)

Karen Winter (Advisor)
23 Mar 2018

Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

Press / Media

Talking to vulnerable children on their terms helps build trust.

Gillian Ruch, Karen Winter, Viv Cree & Fiona Morrison


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Northern Ireland Assembly - debate on nurture groups.

Seaneen Sloan, Karen Winter, Fiona Lynn & Paul Connolly


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research