Dr Robert Benjamin Porter

Research Lead

Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection

Personal statement

I am a socio-legal researcher, with experience conducting research in national and international organisations. I am focused on work that creates real-world differences, particularly for individuals in need. This has led me to conduct research into rehabilitation of drug users, the efficacy of interventions to prevent acute admissions for older people, access to justice for individuals worldwide, and in CELCIS permenance arrangements for looked after children, as well as the operation of the Children's Panel.


B.Sc. Psychology from the University of Aberdeen, 2001

PG.Dip. Psychology from the University of Wales, Cardiff, 2002

M.Res. Psychology from the University of Aberdeen, 2004

LLB from the University of London (external), 2008

PhD Law (pending) from the University of Tilburg, Netherlands


Residential care as an alternative care option : a review of literature within a global context
Giraldi Miriana, Mitchell Fiona, Porter Robert Benjamin, Reed Douglas, Jans Valérie, McIver Leanne, Manole Mihaela, McTier Alexander
Child & Family Social Work Vol 27, pp. 825-837 (2022)
Quality is everyone's responsibility : applying implementation science to residential child care
Giraldi Miriana, McTier Alexander, Porter Robert Benjamin
Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care Vol 20, pp. 115-139 (2021)
Childen's rights in children's hearings : the impact of Covid-19
Porter Robert Benjamin, Gillon Fern Rebecca Louise, Mitchell Fiona, Vaswani Nina, Young Emma
International Journal of Children's Rights Vol 29, pp. 426-446 (2021)
Function, quality and outcomes of residential care : findings from a rapid evidence review
Porter Robert Benjamin, Giraldi Miriana
CELCIS/SOS Children's Villages International Seminar (2021)
Function, Quality and Outcomes of Residential Care : Rapid Evidence Review
Porter Robert, Mitchell Fiona, Giraldi Miriana
Children's rights in children's hearings : the impact of Covid-19
Porter Robert, Gillon Fern
Covid 19 and Children’s Rights Research (2020)

More publications

Research interests

Research interests include legal empowerment and access to justice, specifically how/if people use and experience legal structures. In particular interest in the Children's Hearings System, it's operation and efficacy.


University of Edinburgh 2022-2026 ADR UK Programme (ESRC Administrative Data Research Centre extension)
Porter, Robert Benjamin (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2026
Section 25 in Scotland: Learning from use, understanding, and experience
Porter, Robert Benjamin (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2022 - 31-Jan-2024
Provision of a Literature Review on the role of residential care in the alternative care if children
Mitchell, Fiona (Principal Investigator) Porter, Robert Benjamin (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2019 - 01-Jan-2020
Lifelong Links
Hill, Louise (Principal Investigator) Porter, Robert Benjamin (Co-investigator)
Lifelong Links developed by Family Rights Group (FRG) is an innovative approach to supporting looked after children, young people, and their families. It addresses concerns about permanence and how the networks of children and young people in care become fragmented. This can lead to a lack of stability, identity and belonging, poor experiences and negative outcomes for the child and young person. Together with colleagues from the Rees Centre (Oxford University), CELCIS has been working with FRG as they develop the Lifelong Links model and consider how its effectiveness might be measured. The Lifelong Links approach aims to identify and engage relatives and other supportive adults, including those who have been estranged or not yet known. By identifying adults who are willing to make a life-long commitment to the looked-after child, it is hoped to increase their sense of permanence, security, and wellbeing. It is hoped the resulting continuity and permanence of relationships will provide ongoing support, provide an explanation of historical events and reinforce identity, belonging and a sense of self for the young person.

Lifelong Links is now being piloted across England using funding from Department for Education (DfE). Additional funding sources from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation have been secured by the Family Rights Group (FRG) to allow the model to be piloted in three Scottish sites. The longitudinal mixed-method evaluation is now underway in collaboration with Dr Lisa Holmes (Director, Rees Centre) responsible for the English sites and Dr Louise Hill (Policy Lead, CELCIS) working with the Scottish Sites. The evaluation will conclude in 2023.
01-Jan-2018 - 31-Jan-2023
Contact Decisions in the Children's Hearings System
Porter, Robert Benjamin (Principal Investigator)
When and how, if at all, do decisions relating to contact by Children’s Panels differ from social work/multi-agency report recommendations?
This research will look at a range of issues associated with this primary question, dependent on the availability of evidence, such as;
• Are there systematic differences based on case type, location, participation of professionals, residence of child, etc?
• To what extent do these decisions accord with children & young people’s, or relevant others’, stated wishes (where recorded)?
• Do different reasons for contact decisions provided by social work/multi-agency reports influence the decisions of children’s hearings?
01-Jan-2017 - 31-Jan-2018

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Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection

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