Child Protection and Child Well-Being

The department researches child protection practice, particularly focusing on practice-near methodologies to investigate the lived experiences and practice realities. This includes the micro-components of practice, such as what people do and how they do it, and the macro-components, such as the social, cultural, and political pressures and expectations that influence the experience and practice of child protection work.


2017 - ongoing: Undocumented Children and their Emotional Health and Wellbeing. Principal Investigator: Sian Natasha Thomas

2017-18: Evaluation of DorsetCC Reinvigorating Social Care, Department for Education Innovation Fund Programme. Co-Investigator: Harry Ferguson.

2015-16: Evaluation of Leeds Innovation Project, Transforming Services and Outcomes for Children and Families Through Restorative Justice, Department for Education (c£440,000) Co-Investigator: Harry Ferguson.

2014-15: Evaluation of child and family social workers well-being, experience and the impact of Continuing Professional Development, Nottinghamshire County Council.

2012-13: Performing child protection: How (and where) social workers relate to children and parents on home visits and in other spaces, ESRC, (£99,900). Principle Investigator: Harry Ferguson.

Achieving for Children’s England Innovation Fund Project: Better by Design (£56,450 [£1.1million project total]). Principle Investigators: Mark Chesterman and Matthew Gibson.

‘Organisations, staff support and the dynamics and quality of social work practice: A qualitative longitudinal study of child protection work’, ESRC Standard Grant, Open Call (£677,000) Principle Investigator: Harry Ferguson, Co-applicant: Tarsem Singh Cooner

Using 360-degree immersive video case studies to improve child protection practices


Dr Tarsem Singh Cooner

Dr Tarsem Singh Cooner

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Tarsem is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Programme Director for the MA in Social Work programme. His recent research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Tarsem has been part of a team working on a project entitled ‘Organisations, staff support and the dynamics and quality of social work practice: A qualitative longitudinal study of child protection ...

+44(0)121 414 8184

Professor Harry Ferguson

Professor Harry Ferguson

Professor of Social Work

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Harry joined the university in 2017 as Professor of Social Work. He took up his first lectureship in 1990 and has held professorial posts since 2000. He has taught and researched widely in the areas of social work and child protection, domestic abuse, fatherhood, masculinities and men's lives, mobile research methods, ethnography, and the social science of social work.

+44 (0)121 415 8653

Dr Jason Schaub

Dr Jason Schaub

Lecturer in Social Work

Department of Social Work and Social Care

Jason is a Lecturer in Social Work, and Programme Director for BA Year 1. His areas of teaching and research include gender and sexuality, integrated health and social care, and children and families social work. He is chair of the international Sexuality in Social Work interest group, is on the academic board of Independent Academic Research Studies International Institute (IARS), and is a ...



Gibson, M. (forthcoming) Pride and shame in child and family social work. Bristol: Policy Press.

White, S., Wastell, D., Walsh, T. and Gibson, M. (forthcoming) Reassessing attachment theory in child welfare. Bristol: Policy Press.

Haunted Futures: the stigma of being a mother living apart from her children following state-ordered court removal. Stigma, Health, and Inequality workshop. Cardiff University. 11th-12th January 2018

Gibson, M. (2017) Social worker or social administrator? Findings from a qualitative case study of a child protection social work team. Child & Family Social Work, 22(3):1187–1196. DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12335

Haunted Futures: ghosts, motherhood and child protection. Institute of Social Futures Breakfast Briefing. October 2017

Haunted Futures: Ghosts, motherhood and child protection. British Sociological Association annual conference. University of Manchester. April 2017

Smithson, R. and Gibson, M. (2017) Less than human: a qualitative study into the experience of parents involved in the child protection system. Child & Family Social Work, 22(2):565-574. DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12270

Churchill, H. and Fawcett, B. (2016) Refocusing on Early Intervention and Family  Support’, Social Policy and Society. vol. 15 (02), pp 303-316.

Gibson, M. (2016) Constructing pride, shame, and humiliation as a mechanism of control: a case study of an English local authority child protection service. Children and Youth Services Review, 70:120-128. DOI: DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.09.016

Fawcett, B. (2014) Children and Disability: Constructions, Implications and Change, International Social Work. DOI: 10.1177/0020872813515011

Fawcett, B.  and Hanlon, M. (2009) ‘Child Sexual Abuse and Indigenous Communities in Australia: A Case Study of Non-Inclusive Government Intervention, European Journal of Social Work, Vol 12, Issue 1, pp: 87 – 100.

Fawcett, B., Featherstone, B. and Goddard, J. (2004) Contemporary Child Care Policy and Practice, Basingstoke, Palgrave 


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