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.

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.

Karen Broadhurst

Professor Karen Broadhurst is based in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. Her research spans social work and family law. She is currently appointed to lead the development of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory. This new national organisation aims to close the gap between research and practice in the family justice system as well as effecting step-change in the use of national administrative datasets. The Observatory will also pilot deliberative, inclusive and evidence informed processes for working through contested issues in both public and private law, which polarise the family justice community such as: adoption in public law and shared parenting time in private law.

At Lancaster University, Karen leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers with backgrounds in social work, social policy, criminology, statistics and computing, who have pioneered population-level analyses of family court and related national datasets, alongside creative qualitative methods. Karen’s recent work on the scale and pattern of women’s repeat appearances in public law proceedings (child protection cases) in the family court in England has led to major central government investment in a range of prevention initiatives in England and Wales, as well as further afield. Challenging the withdrawal of services following child removal, multiple local authorities and voluntary organisations now offer intensive support to women to help them avoid further child removals. Karen’s work has also stimulated considerable debate about placement and support options for mother and newborns, in the context of histories of previous removals. Karen has also been involved as partner in the Family Drug and Alcohol court project in England that offers a therapeutic alternative to more adversarial models of family justice.

Karen is currently working on a project funded by the Australian Research Council, State Intervention with Babies [“SIB”, 2017-2019], which is led by Associate Professor Stephanie Taplin at the Australian Catholic University. This project is being conducted in two Australian jurisdictions (NSW and WA), with parallel studies in England and the USA.

Karen’s work is extensively published in range of social work, social science and legal journals. She regularly sits on government advisory/expert groups related to both child and family social work and the family courts. She is expert advisor to the new What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care in England.

Leland Ruwhiu

Ko te reoreo a kea ki uta, ko te whakataki māī a tōroa kī tai
Everything has a destiny & place in time – seek what yours is now

Tēnā koutou katoa,
Greeting to all
Ko Puhanga Tohora; Hikurangi, Haruru ōku maunga,
My ancestrral mountains are Pūhanga Tōhora; Hikurangi; Haruru
Ko Mangatawa, Otaua, Waiapu, Mohaka ōku awa,
My ancestral rivers are Otaua, Waiapu, Mohaka
Ko Ngatokimatawhaorua, Horouta, Takitimu ōku waka.
My ancestral canoes are Ngatokimatawhaorua, Horouta, Takitimu
Ko Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu ki Mohaka, ōku iwi.
My ancestral tribal nations are Ngatipuhi, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tāhū kī Mohaka
Ko Ngai Tu Te Aru, Hunaara, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Ngāti Pahauwera, Ngā Toenga, Otetaha ōku hapū.
My ancestral sub-tribal people name themselves Ngāi Tū Te Aru, Hunaara, Te Whānau a Iritekura, Ngāti Pahauwera, Ngāi Toenga, Otetaha
Ko te tākuta Leland Ariel Ruwhiu i tōku nei ingoa.
My name is Doctor Leland Ariel Ruwhiu

I was born on the 9th of April 1957 in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton, Waikato) to Pirihi Te Ohaki Ruwhiu and Waikaraka Emily (nee Pere). As the eldest of ten siblings, I was raised amongst extended whānau (family) in Hastings, Hawkes Bay New Zealand. I married a beautiful woman whom was born and raised in Brisbane. Her mother is Australian, though her father is genealogically connected to Manawatu and the Wairarapa. She is of Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Kahungunu, and Queensland descent. Her name is Nicky (nee Haeata). She is currently manager of an achievement centre (an alternative education initiative) that is based in Mangere College, South Auckland. We have made Papakura our home. Nicky and I have six children, two in laws, two more up and coming, and nine beautiful mokopuna/grandchildren.

I am a Massey University Alumni member, completing my Bachelor of Social Work with Honours (1989), and my doctorate in 1999 (Te Puāwaitanga o te īhi me tē wehi – the dynamics of Māori social policy development). I am a current member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW). I also have my MANZASW (competency to practice), and am NZ Social Worker Registered; I have fulfilled national roles as Kaiwhakahaere for the Māori Caucus of ANZASW (2002-2004), and served twice on the ANZASW national executive. I am a Foundational member of the Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association & Tangata Whenua Voices in Social Work. I began my career as a Paediatric Social worker for the then Hawkes Bay Area Health board (1985-1991). In 1991 I began as an assistant lecturer at Massey University concluding in 2006 as a Senior Lecturer and taught briefly at Auckland University before taking up a Senior lecturer position at Manukau Institute of Technology in 2006 until October 2012.

In 2012 along with Dr Moana Eruera I took up a position as Principal Advisor Māori (which we changed to Poutaki Māori) for the then named Children Young Persons and their families Service (CYF). For a brief time, (2016-2017) I was GM Māori, as CYF went through significant changes along with Dr Moana Eruera. I am currently Poutaki Maori (Principal Advisor Māori) again for the Office of the Chief Social Worker, in the newly renamed Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children New Zealand. In summary, I am an indigenous social & community work leader, academic writer, researcher, poet, innovator, critical thinker, who is grounded in all aspects of whānau oranga/family wellbeing and development.

Moana Eruera

PhD (Indigenous Studies), M. Phil (Social Work),
Post Grad Dip (Social Policy & Social Work),
B.A (Māori), Registered Social Worker NZ,
Member of Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (MANZASW),
Tangata Whenua Social Worker Association (TWSWA)
Tāngata Whenua Voices in Social Work

Tiaki ngā tamariki mokopuna ngā rangatira apopo hei oranga whānau
Treasure and protect our children
the future leaders who carry the hopes, dreams and aspirations of society
for positive transformation and family wellbeing

I am an indigenous Māori woman of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Ruanui and Ngāti Rangiwewehi tribal descent.  Eldest of 3 sisters, Mother of 2 boys (and many other family members she cares for). Growing up in a family that valued and cared for many children (both within our own extended family network and foster children), I learnt from an early age about nurturing and responding to the needs of children and families who have suffered disadvantage and trauma. 

I observed my parents consistently advocate for the rights of children, young people and families engaged with agencies, services and the child welfare system.  It was no surprise therefore that I pursued a career in social and community work with specific focus on family violence prevention, child protection and advocacy for the rights and participation of children and their families, in particular Māori children who are disproportionately represented in New Zealand’s vulnerable children’s population.  Alongside my own children who are now young adults I continue to care, advocate and support children from my extended whānau (family) network, iwi (tribal) and community.

With more than 30 years’ experience in social and community work including family violence prevention and Iwi (tribal) research projects my working career and vision has been spent committed to strengthening family, child safety and wellbeing, reclaiming and application of indigenous frameworks and practices in social and community work, social justice, human rights and the development of Māori and indigenous children and people.  I have published a range of articles and reports on indigenous social work and research including my PhD working with indigenous youth in my own tribal area examining their intimate partner relationships and violence.  I am currently the General Manager (Practice) in the Office of the Chief Social Worker, Oranga Tamariki: Ministry for Children, Wellington, New Zealand and I also led the design and development of the new agency professional practice framework.

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.

Jenny Driscoll

Jenny practised as a Family Law barrister in London for over a decade, specialising in child protection, before moving to King’s College London where she is a senior lecturer and Programme Director of MAs in Child Studies and International Child Studies. Her academic interests are at the intersection of children’s rights and child protection, including child protection systems, outcomes for care leavers and the ethics of research with young people.

Jenny was an academic adviser for the Alternative Civil Society Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2015 in response to the UK Government’s report on implementation of the UNCRC. She contributed to the AHRC-funded Children’s Rights Judgements project (Hart, 2017), a collaboration between expert experts from across the world in re-writing existing judgments adopting a children’s rights approach. 

She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect (BASPCAN). Current research projects include an ESRC-funded project with the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at King’s on the role of schools in safeguarding and a Leverhulme-funded study of the interaction between formal and informal child protection arrangements in Uganda. Her book ‘Transitions for Care to Independence’ considers provision for children ageing out of state care in Western nations and was published by Routledge in 2017.

Diana English

Dr English completed a PhD in Social Welfare at the University of Washington in 1985.  Prior to attending the University of Washington Dr English worked as a social worker in child protection, juvenile justice, and mental health, a  supervisor of crisis services.  From 1987 – 2007 Dr English was the Director of the Office of Children’s Administration Research – (OCAR) a research center located within the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Children’s Administration.  At OCAR Dr English and her team conducted was successful in obtaining over 11 million dollars to conduct over 30 research projects related to public child welfare issues including studies related to risk assessment, CPS decision making, re-referral, recurrence, placement stability, level of care, reunification, re-entry, and the effectiveness of service interventions. Dr English was the Principal Investigator for the LONGSCAN study from 1990 – 2010, a 20-year longitudinal study examining the antecedents and consequences of abuse/neglect on children’s social, emotional and behavioural outcomes from infancy to young adulthood. With funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the LONGSCAN study continued to follow young adult outcomes related to substance use and exposure to violence through 2017.  The LONGSCAN Consortium is currently exploring funding to study parenting behaviors of the LONGSCAN cohort and outcomes for the children of LONGSCAN participants.

 Dr English has authored or co-authored over 85 articles on issues related to public child welfare and has been a member of national committees addressing questions of interest related to public and private child welfare including a National Research Council Committee examining the effectiveness of interventions in family violence, domestic violence and child maltreatment. For the past ten years, Dr English served as Director of Research at the Child Welfare League of America (3 years) with a specific focus on data-based organizational change and outcomes for the National Adopt US Kids initiative. As a Strategic Consultant for Systems Change at Casey Family Program (7 years) Dr. English focused on the use of data in systems change efforts to improve outcomes for children and families from intake through adoption.  Dr English is currently semi-retired but continues as a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Washington, School of Social Work, in Seattle, Washington.