Sarah Todorov

Doctoral Researcher 

Sarah TodorovContact details

Current Status

Third year

Research Topic

Experiences of foster parents caring for children with disabilities in Bulgaria


Research summary

Sarah’s PhD research focuses on the experiences of foster parents who care for children with disabilities in Bulgaria. The study uses the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach to access the experiences of a unique group of foster parents in one region of Bulgaria. The research on foster care for children with disabilities is positioned within the national move towards family-based care for all children, and aims to identify the needs of foster parents and ways in which specialist foster care can be expanded across the country. 


  • BA Education (1st class) University of Birmingham
  • PGCE (Teach First) Birmingham City University


Sarah Todorov is a third year full-time Postgraduate Researcher (PhD) at the University of Birmingham with main research interests in family-based alternative care (foster care) and inclusive education for children with special educational needs and disabilities in Eastern Europe.

Sarah has previously been involved in research with the Christian Alliance For Orphans (CAFO) during a year-long research internship (2019-2020) at the Center on Applied Research for Vulnerable Children and Families. During her time at CAFO, Sarah worked on two main global research projects: a systematic review of antecedents to residential care and a study on care leavers’ experiences of alternative care. Alongside her PhD studies, Sarah is currently involved in a follow-on project funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account which applies research on the Computerised Progressive Attention Training (CPAT) programme (an embedded attention intervention for autistic children) to a specialist autism service in the Midlands, UK.

Sarah is a qualified teacher with experience teaching KS1-3, specialising in English Language and Literature. Alongside her research, Sarah works in collaboration with US organisation Lost Sparrows to promote family-based care for children with disabilities in Bulgaria and is an active member of Bulgaria Without Orphans, a national movement of professionals working with orphans and vulnerable children, which is part of World Without Orphans Europe.

Research interests

  • De-institutionalisation policy and practice
  • Family-based care (foster care)
  • Inclusive education
  • Special Educational Needs
  • Cross cultural research
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Phenomenological research
  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
  • Participatory Action Research

Research Supervisors

Dr Lila Kossyvaki and Dr Tonie Stolberg

Professional memberships

National Union of Teachers (NUT)