I joined the University of Strathclyde in 2003 and am simultaneously part of the School of Social Work & Social Policy and CELCIS (the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland). I lead up the MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care, a part time course for full time practitioners. I also teach on the BA in Social Work and the international MSc in Child and Youth Care Studies by distance learning. My teaching is mostly on residential child care, with supporting research, theory and social policy related to child development and the impact of trauma and other forms of adversity on that development. I also teach ethics and serve as Vice Convener on the University's research ethics committee.
My research interests are strongly connected to my areas of teaching (and vice versa). My largest study to date has been on staff and young people's views and experiences of physical restraint in residential child care. I'm currently involved in a study breaking ground in applying threshold concept theory to residential child care/child and youth care education and practice. I also jointly edit the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care.
My research and teaching also inform the consultancy I have done for local authority and independent residential child care organisations, and for the Scottish Government. All of these activities serve the development of practice towards enhanced care, development and life changes for children who are looked after.
Before coming to the University, I worked in direct practice, management and training in residential treatment for adolescents in the United States and residential child care here in Scotland.