Dr Laura Steckley

Senior Lecturer

Social Work and Social Policy

Personal statement

My 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.  I am currently involved in research looking to identify potential threshold concepts in education for residential child care practitioners.  My largest study to date involved in-depth exploration and theorisation around physical restraint in residential child care.


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 lead up the MSc in Advanced Residential Child Care and serve as Vice Convener on the University's research ethics committee.


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).  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.


A reflexive relational model for ethical decision-making in child and youth care
Mann-Feder Varda R, Steckley Laura
Doing Ethics in Child and Youth Care A North American Reader (2021) (2021)
Examining what care ethics has to offer PBS
Hollins Lee, Steckley Laura
International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support (2020)
Threshold concepts in residential child care : part 2, relational practice as threshold
Steckley Laura
Children and Youth Services Review Vol 112 (2020)
Threshold concepts in residential child care : part 1, the selves of learners and their praxis
Steckley Laura
Children and Youth Services Review Vol 112 (2020)
Digital storytelling using co-production with vulnerable young people
Heron Gavin, Steckley Laura
Journal of Social Work (2018)
Editorial : Special issue: Psychodynamic and systems theories perspectives on residential child care
Steckley Laura
Journal of Social Work Practice Vol 32, pp. 365-372 (2018)

More publications

Professional activities

The Residential Child Care Project's Biannual Instructors' Retreat for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
The Residential Child Care Project's Biannual Instructors' Retreat for Therapeutic Crisis Intervention
Scottish Institute for Residential Care Conference 2018
Keynote/plenary speaker
Changing the Narrative
Keynote/plenary speaker
Building a Community of Practice
Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care Annual Conference 2016

More professional activities


Identifying and Exploring Threshold Concepts in Crisis Intervention
Steckley, Laura (Principal Investigator) Sellers, Deborah (Principal Investigator) Izzo, Charles (Research Co-investigator) Mccabe, Lisa (Research Co-investigator)
This study employs concept mapping, focus group interviews and individual interviews to identify and explore potential threshold concepts in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. Findings will likely have implications for the wider consideration of responding to children and young people when they are in crisis.
JARA Studentship - Lee Hollins
Steckley, Laura (Principal Investigator) MacIntyre, Gillian (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2017 - 30-Jan-2022
Digital Storytelling, Accomodated Children and Children's Hearings
Heron, Gavin (Principal Investigator) Steckley, Laura (Co-investigator)
27-Jan-2015 - 25-Jan-2015
Threshold concepts in RCC
Steckley, Laura (Principal Investigator) McPheat, Graham (Co-investigator)
21-Jan-2013 - 31-Jan-2014
Holding the Space Evaluation
Stevens, Irene (Principal Investigator) Steckley, Laura (Co-investigator)
12-Jan-2009 - 31-Jan-2010

More projects