Andy Kendrick

 Andy Kendrick is Professor of Residential Child Care at the University of Strathclyde and Academic Lead for the Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures. He has carried out extensive research on children and young people in the care system and has published widely on residential child care, the social exclusion of looked after children, participation in decision-making and outcomes of children in care. He has been involved in a number of government enquiries addressing the safeguarding and protection of children in care. He is currently carrying out research in two main areas; the historic abuse of children in care, and stigma in childhood and the centrality of relationships in addressing stigmatisation and marginalisation of children.  He is a Vice President of the European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents, and works closely with the Centre of Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) and the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (CYCJ).

Harriet Ward

Harriet Ward is Professor of Child and Family Research at Loughborough University, UK. She founded Loughborough’s Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) in 2002 and directed it until she stepped down in April 2014. She has over 30 years of experience both as a research director and field researcher, as an adviser to policymakers and service providers, and as a social work practitioner. She was awarded a CBE for services to children and families in June 2012.

Harriet’s research focusses on the relationship between the state and the family both now and in the past. Previous studies include the development and piloting of a methodology for assessing the outcomes of local authority care (the Looking After Children Project); studies of the relationship between costs and  outcomes in children’s services; an empirical study of the experiences of children who entered the Waifs and Strays Society (Children’s Society) in the nineteenth century; an eight year prospective longitudinal study of children identified in infancy as likely to suffer significant harm; and a scoping study for the development of a family justice observatory aimed at enhancing the use of robust empirical research and administrative data in the English family justice system.  She is currently working on a major study (with Barnardo’s Australia) of the outcomes of open adoption in New South Wales. Harriet is also a founder member of the international network of research on transitions to adulthood from care (INTRAC) and the English representative on the Board of EUSARF (European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents). Findings from Harriet’s research programme have underpinned developments in policy and practice concerning child protection, looked after children and adoption in the UK, the USA, Australia and parts of Europe.

John Simmonds

John Simmonds is Director of Policy, Research and Development at CoramBAAF, formerly the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.  Before starting at BAAF in 2000, John was head of the social work programmes at Goldsmiths College, University of London.  He is a qualified social worker and has substantial experience in child protection, family placement and residential care settings.  He is currently responsible for CoramBAAF’s contribution to the development of policy and practice in social work, health, the law and research.

John has published widely including in the 1980s the first social work edited book on direct work with children.  More recently he edited with Gillian Schofield The Child Placement Handbook and drafted BAAF’s Good Practice Guidance on Special Guardianship.  Recent research studies have focussed on unaccompanied asylum seeking children in foster care with the Universities of York and Bedfordshire, a study of 100 women adopted from Hong Kong into the U.K. in the 1960s with the Institute of Psychiatry and a Department for Education funded study on Special Guardianship with York University.

John sits on the government’s Adoption Leadership Board and the Expert Advisory Group on Adoption Support.

John is the adoptive father of two children, now adults.  He was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list 2015 and an honorary doctorate in Education from the Tavistock NHS Foundation Trust /University of East London.

Nina Biehal

Professor Nina Biehal works at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. She has conducted many studies of children and young people involved with child protection services, in out of home care, at risk of entry to care or returning home from care.  Her most recent study compared outcomes for children in out of home care to those for children supported at home due to abuse or neglect. She is currently working on the Hestia study of child protection policy, systems and practice in three European countries and the Permanently Progressing study of outcomes for children who are fostered or adopted.  She has served as an external advisor on English government working groups and has been invited to give evidence to parliamentary committees on child protection, out of home care and adoption legislation.

Carmel Devaney

Dr Carmel Devaney is Lecturer and Course Director of the Master Degree in Family Support Studies in the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. Carmel has a longstanding interest in and commitment to supporting and protecting children and young people within their family context. Carmel is Principal Investigator on a number of research projects under the Partnership, Prevention and Family Support programme for Tusla, the Irish statutory Child and Family Agency. Carmel is also conducting a feasibility study on carrying out a longitudinal study on children in care / leaving care in the Irish context. In recent years, Carmel has been lead researcher on a broader range of research projects for Tusla and has designed and delivered a number of national Family Support training initiatives for managers and practitioners. Carmel is also leading on establishing a European Family Support Network for academics and researchers. Carmel has also worked for many years in children and family services as both a practitioner and manager. Carmel’s recent publications and conference presentations are in the area of Family Support, child protection and welfare and supporting practitioners who work in these areas.