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Children, young people & familiesMeet our people

Dr Daniela Sime

Daniela Sime

Professor of Youth, Migration and Social Justice and cluster lead

Daniela has over 20 years of expertise in research and consultancy work. She has received funding from the ESRC, British Academy, Save the Children and local authorities. Her research promotes children’s rights and a justice agenda that addresses social inequalities, especially in relation to traditionally marginalised groups, such as young people affected by poverty and migrant and refugee young people. Until recently, Daniela was PI on a UK-wide project on the lives of Eastern European young people living in Britain, their sense of identity and belonging in the context of Brexit. As cluster lead, she is keen to receive enquiries about potential collaborations with the group or from potential research students

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Dr Christine Jones

Christine Jones

Senior Lecturer, Social Work

Dr Christine Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work. Her research is concerned with the impact of state policies and welfare practices on family relationships. Substantive topics include experiences and outcomes of children in out-of-home care, protection of disabled children and adoptive family life. She is currently Principal Investigator on a study focusing on the sibling relationships of children in public care. She is also collaborating on a study of post-adoption support and post adoption contact.

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Dr Anna Macintyre

Anna Macintyre

Research Associate, Centre for Health Policy

Anna's research interests focus on the social and economic determinants of health and mental health and in ‘upstream’ approach to addressing health inequalities. She was part of a team who undertook a systematic literature review of interventions intended to improve health, happiness and wellbeing for young people in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She is Project Coordinator for the EU Horizon 2020 funded 'Citizenship, Recovery and Inclusive Society Partnership', which shares learning on social inclusion and mental health between Europe and the United States.

She is also a founding contributor to 'Declaration', a festival of arts and ideas focused on health and human rights.

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Nina Vaswani

Nina Vaswani

Research fellow

Nina Vaswani is a research fellow and research lead in the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice and co-founder of the Bereavement Research & Innovation group. She has a particular interest in the experience of loss and grief in children and young people. Her research has focused on the increased likelihood of loss and grief among disadvantaged young people, especially those involved in offending.

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Laura Steckley

Laura Steckley

Laura’s research interests broadly involve deepening our understanding of key areas of practice in order to improve the experiences and life chances of children and young people in residential child care. She is currently working with colleagues at Cornell University to identify and explore potential threshold concepts in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. Findings will have implications for the wider consideration of responding to children and young people when they are in crisis.

Laura course leads the MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care where she enjoys the exciting intersection of her research and scholarship in residential child care with her teaching and curriculum development.

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Dr Sally Paul

Sally Paul

Senior Lecturer

Sally is the course leader for the BA in Social Work. She is a qualified social worker having worked predominately with children and young people in a variety of settings. She is research consultant for the Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice and the Centre for Health Policy. She is also co-founder of Bereavement, research & Innovation group. Sally is actively engaged in research projects and activities with specific interests in: death, dying and bereavement; loss; public health approaches to palliative care (including compassionate communities); participatory research methods; and social work practice development.

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Emma Young

Emma Young

Research associate

Emma is a research associate at the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland and a part-time doctoral student within the school. Her work is focused on supporting the use of evidence and data within the development of system responses and practice improvements for children who are looked after or at risk of becoming looked after and their families. She has a particular interest in support for young people transitioning from care. Her doctoral research is focused on professional decision making in the context of mothers leaving care.

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Melanie McCarry

Melanie McCarry


Melanie is a lecturer in social policy. She sits on the UK and Scottish Government expert groups on violence against women, and is a member of various national and international research communities. Her areas of expertise focus on male violence against women, children and young people; abuse in young people’s intimate relationships; gender roles and relations; participatory methods; and research ethics. She is currently co-leading a Scottish Government funded project on reducing violence on university campuses.

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Jennifer Davidson, director of the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland

Jennifer Davidson

Director, Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland

Jennifer has served on national and international committees related to children’s services and was a founding member of the US National Campaign for the Ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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Robert Porter

Robert Porter

Research Lead (CELCIS)

Robert is a researcher with experience in conducting evaluation and qualifications in both law and psychology. As a previous Children’s Panel member, he has a particular interest in working to improve the Children’s Hearings System (CHS) and has completed research into the role of solicitors in the CHS, as well as looking at contact decisions made in panels. Previous research areas include subjective legal empowerment, and informal decision making processes in developing countries.

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Dr Graham Connelly

Graham Connelly

Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow

Dr Graham Connelly is a senior knowledge exchange fellow in CELCIS. His research interests are related to children in alternative care settings, and in particular the education of looked after children and care-experienced adults in post-school education. He is the editor of the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, a quarterly, open-access international journal.

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Dr Leanne McIver

Leanne McIver

Research Associate

Leanne is a Research Associate in the Improving Care Experiences hub at CELCIS. She comes from a background in education and health services research and evaluation, and has worked on projects around outdoor learning as part of Curriculum for Excellence, and the evaluation of Childsmile, Scotland’s national programme to improve children’s oral health.

Leanne’s current work focuses on children and young people who are ‘looked after’ away from home.

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Mihaela Manole

Mihaela Manole

Research & Evaluation Associate (CELCIS)

Mihaela supports the ‘Protecting Children’ Team and ‘Addressing Neglect and Enhancing Wellbeing’ Project. Mihaela has expertise in research, policy and programme development in relation to vulnerable children and young people, citizenship and participation.

Previously Mihaela worked for Save the Children Romania and the European Agency for Fundamental Rights, building a wealth of experience in the area of combating violence against children and trafficking in human beings, as well as supporting child friendly justice.

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Gavin Heron

Gavin Heron


Gavin is a qualified social worker having worked with children and young people in a variety of settings. He teaches on the undergraduate and postgraduate social work courses. Research interests focus on child care and education with a focus on supporting professionals gain better insights into practice. Current research examines the way professionals work with children who present a serious risk to others and uses data generated by the Interventions for Vulnerable Youth project.

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Barbara Fawcett

Barbara Fawcett

Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Work and Social Policy

Barbara Fawcett is Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde. She is also joint Head of School with Professor Trish Hafford-Letchfield. Previously she was Professor of Social Work and Head of the Department of Social Work and Social Care at the University of Birmingham. She was also Director of Internationalisation for the College of Social Sciences and for the School of Social Policy. Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2013, she was Professor of Social Work and Policy Studies at the University of Sydney Australia and the Head of School and Associate Dean (Research). Whilst at Sydney she was the co-director of the Social Policy Research Network. She is an International member of the Hong Kong Social Work Registration Board and the New Zealand Social Work Registration Board. Prior to moving to Australia in 2004, Barbara was head of the large interdisciplinary School of Applied Social Studies at the University of Bradford. At the University of Bradford, she also co-founded and led the Social Care Research and Evaluation Partnership. Barbara spent eight years in the field as a senior practitioner, manager, contract researcher and head of mental health services. Barbara has been an International member of the editorial boards of the journals Critical Social Policy, Child Care in Practice and the British Journal of Social Work. She has been an Executive Board Member of Barnardos, Australia and has worked extensively in the arena of health and social care. Her work has a strong International dimension and collaborations include Hong Kong, China,  South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In relation to Children, Young People and Families her work focuses on the areas of disability, mental health, gender disparities and social inclusion.

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Silvia Behrens

Silvia Behrens

Doctoral researcher

Silvia is a doctoral candidate in Social Policy at the University of Strathclyde. Prior to her PhD research, she obtained a Bachelor’s in political science and a Master’s in Cultural Studies in her native Germany and worked in the European Parliament and the Goethe-Institute. She is interested in the topics of youth, civil society, political participation, and civic education – which she has personally become familiar with as a project manager and national board member of a Europe-wide youth organisation. Her doctoral research focuses on young people’s political and civic activism in the UK and combines quantitative and qualitative methods.

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Elita Chamdimba

Elita Chamdimba

Social Work / Sociologist / Gender expert

Elita Chamdimba is a PhD candidate at the University of Strathclyde studying social work. Prior to this she has been a Research Fellow at the University of Malawi’s Centre for Social Research (CSR) since 2018. She’s also the founder and director of Little Big Prints, a youth organization in southern Malawi that is equipping and supporting adolescent girls in furthering their opportunities for secondary school and tertiary education.

Elita’s research interests are in adolescents, youth, gender and disability studies. In line with this, Elita has conducted empirical studies on parenting adolescents, child marriage, gender power dynamics, gender roles and norms, girls’ education, and youth.

Currently for her PhD in Social Work, Elita’s study shall answer the research question; what are the lived experiences of adolescents growing up with albinism in Africa? Her research, with Malawi as the case study, is intersectional looking at bio-sociality, belonging, identity and citizenship. As well as challenging exclusion of a minority group by applying a methodology that will be an ethnography with participatory methods adopted and focused on adolescents with albinism. In-depth interviews using participatory methods with adolescents with albinism, including drama, journaling, drawings and photograph collages, will enable the research to give power to a group that is typically excluded from participation. Participatory methods will allow access to young people’s authentic narratives.

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