I joined the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection in 2017. I also work at and co-founded the Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland, a multi-disciplinary organisation that supports all those working in the field of adoption, fostering and the care of looked after children. My work focuses on two particular areas: children and young people in kinship, foster and adoptive families, and separated children who have migrated to the UK unaccompanied by parents or caregivers.
My current research includes an ESRC-funded project, Helping Separated Children to Thrive during Covid-19. The study is exploring young people's and service providers' experiences of the impact of the impact on social connections and social support, with a focus on English language learning and storytelling. I am also a co-I on Permanently Progressing? Building secure futures for children in Scotland - the first longitudinal study in Scotland to investigate decision making, permanence, progress, outcomes and belonging for children who became ‘looked after’ at home or away from home in 2012-2013. The second phase will start in late 2020.
My other current / recent activities at University of Stirling and AFA Scotland include research on education support and befriending services for separated children (with the Scottish Refugee Council and Aberlour children’s charity) , CSO-funded rapid research on children and families’ experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly kinship carers (FACE 19), an evaluation of an adoption support service (with University of Strathclyde) and piloting a new training programme for carers of unaccompanied migrant children (with CoramBAAF and the International Organisation for Migration).
I’ve previously worked for King’s College London, University of Glasgow, and London School of Economics and Political Science. The thesis for my PhD in mental health used a phenomenological approach to explore adopted women's perceptions in adulthood of how being internationally adopted in childhood has affected their subsequent lives, using data from the British Chinese Adoption Study. I also have an MSc in Social Policy from LSE.
Prior to starting in research, I worked for refugee support organisations in London and Syria (UNRWA), with a particular focus on supporting people to access education and find employment. I’m currently a co-mentor for study with Syrian colleagues as part of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) Syria Programme.