Sarah Todorov

Doctoral Researcher 

Sarah TodorovContact details

Research Topic

Foster care for children with disabilities in Bulgaria

Research Supervisors

Dr Lila Kossyvaki and Dr Tonie Stolberg


Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) in the School of Education

Research summary

Sarah’s PhD research focused on the experiences of foster parents who care for children with disabilities in Bulgaria. The study used the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach to study the experiences of a unique group of foster parents in one region of Bulgaria. This research on foster care for children with disabilities is positioned within a national move towards family-based care for all children, and aimed to identify the needs of foster parents and ways in which specialist foster care can be developed across the country. Sarah submitted her PhD Thesis for examination in January 2023.


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


Sarah Todorov is an ESRC-funded Post-doctoral Research Fellow 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.

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 is an active member of the non-governmental organisation ‘Bulgaria Without Orphans’, a national movement of professionals working with orphans and vulnerable children, which is an off-shoot 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
  • Translation methodology and methods
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Phenomenology
  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
  • Participatory Action Research


Nicole G. Wilke , Amanda Hiles Howard, Sarah Todorov, Justine Bautista and Jedd Medefind (2022). Antecedents to Child Placement in Residential Care: A Systematic Review. Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond. DOI: 10.1177/23493003221082333.