Explore our research

  • Children, Young People and Families

    Child at the park

This has long been a well-established research strand at UCLan, mainly focussing on the key areas of child protection, children’s rights, looked after children and a range of evaluations of major initiatives. We recently led the national evaluation of Social Work Practices for DfE in England, and have also conducted major quantitative studies of child abuse and protection. We established The Centre in 2008 to research and promote children and young people’s participation, inclusion and empowerment, and to work with children and young people as co- researchers. We have a major and expanding programme of research into domestic and family violence. We have been involved in evaluating Children’s Commissioners in Wales and Northern Ireland, and are co-founders of the international Research Group on Ombudspersons for Children. We have also studied child trafficking and child migrants, looked after children and juvenile justice, and have advised internationally on service standards, community-based support and legislation for child care systems. Much of our research has an international perspective: recent projects have been carried out in Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Peru. We have undertaken research and consultancy for a wide range of organisations and agencies including in the UK: BASPCAN, Children’s Commissioner for England, Children’s Fund, Department for Education and Skills, ESRC, NCH, NSPCC and NIHR. Our international research has included work for: EveryChild, National Children’s Office Ireland, Save the Children, UNDP, UNICEF and World Vision International.

Expertise and Subject Areas

  • Child welfare
  • Children’s rights, participation and citizenship
  • Child abuse and protection
  • Care systems
  • Migration and trafficking
  • Domestic violence


  • Care systems – impact on law, policy and practice in UK and abroad
  • Domestic violence – impact on law, policy and practice across UK

Events and News

Seminar series – Children and Social Justice (.pdf 207KB)  

Related Projects

Completed Projects

Evaluation of Action for Children Adoption Black Families Service

Dr Julie Ridley, Dr John Wainwright

Evaluation of Social Work Practices

Professor Nicky Stanley

Professor Andy Bilson:

  • UNICEF CEE/CIS - Knowledge-building Support to the Child Care System Reform in CEE-CIS. Study on gate-keeping functions in three countries – Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Ukraine

Professor Nigel Thomas:

  • Children in Care Councils: the London Picture, with Barry Percy-Smith and colleagues for London Councils, 2010. View report (.pdf 2.52MB)
  • Good Practice in Social Care for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, with Karen Newbigging and colleagues for Social Care Institute for Excellence, 2009-10.
  • Promoting Positive Mental Health and Recovery in Young People: Evaluation of the UThink Project, with David Pilgrim for Rethink, 2009-10. View report (.pdf 776KB)