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    Research Interests

    My main research interests are in respect of Looked After and adopted children. I am particularly interested in: the care planning process; social work interaction with the Courts; the needs and rights of looked after children; and the experience of family life in permanent placements.

    I have carried out research and published articles on post-adoption contact, adoptive parenthood, kinship foster care and informal kinship care.

    I am interested in the use of qualitative research methods, particularly the development of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in social work research.

    I am a member of the Centre for Social Research on Children and Young People at Queens University and a member of the CoramBAAF research group advisory committee.

    I am a qualified social worker with 11 years experience in statutory children’s services in Belfast working as a social worker and senior social worker in family support and child protection teams, and, most recently, in permanence and adoption.

    I joined Queens University as a lecturer in social work in 2010. I am currently programme director for the undergraduate route of the Bachelor in Social Work degree.


    Willingness to take PhD students


    PhD projects

    - Adoption, kinship care, leaving care
    - Parenting capacity

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    Frequent Journals

    • Child and Family Social Work

      ISSNs: 1356-7500

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1365-2206


      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.77 SJR 0.895 SNIP 1.126


    • Families, Relationships and Societies

      ISSNs: 2046-7435

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 2046-7443

      The Policy Press

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 1.1 SJR 0.431 SNIP 0.67


    • Child Care in Practice

      ISSNs: 1357-5279, 1476-489X

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1476-489X


      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 0.61 SJR 0.27 SNIP 0.46


    • Adoption & Fostering Journal

      ISSNs: 0308-5759

      Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1740-469X

      British Association for Adoption & Fostering

      Scopus rating (2018): CiteScore 0.51 SJR 0.248 SNIP 0.427


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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 56848