The Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection

Through services and research inspired and led by the University of Stirling Our Centre is committed to benefitting the lives of children at risk of compromised development, in Scotland and beyond, With experts in social work, child protection, education and health, we bring a holistic and integrated approach to the field, our strength lies in the potential we have to undertake original research on issues affecting children’s development, from pre-birth to adolescence.

You can find out more about news, research and other developments from the Centre's first year in our Annual Summary.

Meet the team

As many are aware, Professor Brigid Daniel left the University of Stirling and the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection on 5th June to take up a post of Dean at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh. The post of Director of the Centre has now been advertised, but in the meantime Jane Scott has been appointed as Senior Research Fellow to oversee the work programme of the Centre. Jane has worked alongside Brigid for many years and been part of the Centre for the past twelve months. 

Also leaving her role with the Centre is Professor Cate Watson and the team thank her very much for her contribution in its first successful year. The Centre is delighted to welcome Dr John I'Anson, Senior Lecturer in Education, as a new Deputy Director alongside Helen Cheyne, Professor of Midwifery. 


Deputy Director - Professor Helen Cheyne, Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit (NMAHP RU)

Helen is a midwife with experience in urban and rural maternity units in Scotland. She is Professor of Maternal and Child Health. Her research interests include models of maternity care, postnatal care, women’s experience of maternity care, reducing the impact of inequalities in maternal and infant health and wellbeing.

Deputy DirectorDr John I'Anson

John is Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching within the Faculty of Social Sciences. He has undertaken a variety of research projects in relation to creativity, aesthetic education and the use of moving image. John also has an interest in children’s rights and his research to date has both an empirical and theoretical orientation and draws upon a variety anthropological and post-structuralist writers.

Senior Research Fellow - Jane Scott

Jane currently oversees the work programme of the Centre as well as pursing her own research interests in child wellbeing and neglect. She also almost 30 years’ experience of research and development projects in the field of child welfare. Jane was previously based at WithScotland.

Research Fellow - Dr. Andressa Gadda

Andressa’s educational background is in Sociology and Social Work. Her research focus on looked after children and their families; children’s rights; welfare practices and policy; the intersection between care and protection; post-theories and research co-production. 

Research Fellow - Dr Margaret Grant

Maggie is working on Permanently Progressing? – a national study of permanent placements for children under 5 across Scotland, in collaboration with the University of York. She is on secondment from the Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland and has worked in adoption and fostering research for 10 years.

Research Assistant - Angus MacDonald

Angus is a former Detective Inspector with Police Scotland. He has extensive experience in multi-agency public protection strategy and policy development and in leading child protection investigations. He currently coordinates the Erasmus+ funded multi-national project; “Improving the protection and well-being of children in Europe: Enhancing the curriculum”.  This collaboration brings together universities from Moldova, Kosovo, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and England along with “Terre des Hommes”. The project aim is to promote greater consistency and quality for social work training in child protection through the development of shared training resources.

Honorary Professor - Professor Julie Taylor. Professor of Child Protection in the School of Health and Population Science at the University of Birmingham, in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Julie is a nurse scientist, whose notable national and international work focuses on reframing child maltreatment as a public health concern. Her research programme focuses on the interface between health and social care, largely underpinned by the discourse of cumulative harm and the effects of living with multiple adversities. In recognition of her work in child protection in 2013, Julie was awarded a prestigious Fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing.

Honorary Professor - Professor Joan Forbes

Joan has practitioner experience as a teacher educator and with children with specific language and communication needs. Previously School Director of Research, and Director of the Centre for Children’s Services Research and Policy Study at the University of Aberdeen, her research interests focus on the interface of education and social policy; inter-agency collaborations for children; poverty and children; and elite schooling and social justice. 

Honary Senior Research Fellow - Beth Smith 

Beth is a registered social worker with extensive experience in leading, directing and managing services. She has worked in a range of social work management posts and held the role of Chief Social Work Officer. From 2009 to 2016, Beth was the Director of WithScotland, the first national hub for child protection. Now an independent consultant, her research interests include child protection and the interface between research, policy and practice. 

PhD Student (Seamless Services)  - Calum Lindsay

Calum is analysing the impact of the children services framework on the lives of children in Scotland, from a social work perspective. His research interests include socio-material approaches to the connections between practice and policy; ethnographic and qualitative research methods; decision-making in social work; integrated approaches to children’s services; and poverty, inequalities and childhood.

PhD Student (Seamless Services)  - Katherine Allen

Katherine has been a mentor, community advocate, educator, policy maker and academic researcher in the United States and Scotland. Her work focuses on children, education, and policy. She is currently on a funded studentship, looking at the role of the education system in Scotland within the multidisciplinary support network for children.

PhD Student (Seamless Services) - Nikoletta Komvoki

Nikoletta is a qualified Early Years Teacher, and has worked with children and young people in diverse settings in Scotland and Greece. Her PhD in Health Sciences is funded by NHS Forth Valley. Her research interests include child development, early years, early intervention, family studies, social policy and child protection, and children's rights.

PhD Student - Kate Kyriakou

Kate’s PhD is funded by the University of Stirling and charity Action for Children. Her research project focuses on the primary prevention of neglect in Scotland, and aims to explore the potential to adopt a public health approach in tackling child neglect. Her research interests include child protection policy, public health interventions, children and young people’s wellbeing and qualitative research methods.

Our Partners  

  • Aberlour Child Care Trustis a charity that focuses on children, young people and families across Scotland, helping transform their lives for the better by supporting them through challenges like living with a disability, growing up in and leaving care, and the impact of drugs and alcohol on families. 
  • Children 1st
  • Children in Scotland is the uniting voice for the children’s sector in Scotland. Its vision is to make Scotland a world leader in achieving the wellbeing of every child and improving the quality of every childhood.
  • NHS Forth Valley is governed by a Board of Directors and is accountable to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-being through the Scottish Government Health Directorate. The Board controls an annual budget of £550 million, and is responsible for providing health services and improving the health for the population of Forth Valley.
  • Social Work Scotland  is the leadership organisation for the social work profession, representing social workers and other professionals who lead and support social work across all sectors.

Collaborative Links

TwitterFollow us on Twitter @StirCCWP           

© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
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