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    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.

    Willingness to take PhD students


    PhD projects

    - Children in care
    - Children’s rights and social work
    - Communication and relationships with Children
    - Experiences and outcomes of State care
    - Early intervention/family support

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    Frequent Journals

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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 46226