Families, Children and Life Transitions

We are committed to working collaboratively to improve the lives of children and families and enhancing family life to ensure that children and their carers have the best possible chances in life, whatever their health care needs.

Families, Children and Life Transitions


Our research activity focuses on the lives of children, parents and families – with a particular emphasis on ways of enhancing health and well-being. Our aim is to undertake research that makes a difference to families and children. We aim to generate evidence which can be translated into changes in practice and which shapes policy.

Supporting Evaluation and Research in Child and family Health (SEaRCH)

The SEaRCH group includes expertise from fields of health service delivery, health visiting/public health nursing, community development work, children’s nursing and psychology.  We have a specific interest in understanding ‘what works well’, to support the lives of children, parents, families and systems that can facilitate health and well-being.

Networks and contacts

We have established networks and contacts throughout our home region, nationally and internationally; we know our ‘home patch’ and we are well placed to link into and influence practice, research and ideas across the world. Our research reflects a commitment to extensive collaboration with families, practice-based experts, voluntary groups and researchers from different disciplinary and academic backgrounds.

Challenging and methodologically innovative work

Our research is challenging and methodologically innovative, ranging from tool development and validation to realistic evaluation, narrative, participatory, arts-based and appreciative approaches. Our work is relevant to practice across a range of contexts. It has excellent fit with the key drivers and targets for promoting health, caring for and supporting families/children and facilitating life transitions.

Our students: PhDs, MPhils and MScs

Our postgraduate research degree students experience high quality team supervision that is tailored to meet their individual needs throughout their studies. Students enhance their transferable skills and publish papers en route to successful completion of their target awards. Students studying within the theme find the atmosphere to be “collegiate”, “developmental”, “supportive” and “stretching”.

To find out more about Families, Children and Life Transitions research, contact Dr Karen Whittaker
Tel: +44 (0) 1772 893786 Email: Kwhittaker1@uclan.ac.uk



Dissemination and knowledge translation

We disseminate the knowledge and evidence we produce not only to fellow professionals through the usual established methods (e.g. journal and conference papers) but also to children and families and those who work with them (e.g. through websites). Our aim is to ensure that our findings reach the people who could most benefit from it. We work hard to ensure that our research contributes to policy documents, best practice guidance and via other areas of influence.


Impact from our work is achieved through co-production work with regional and national partners and consultative projects with UK and international government agencies and charitable organisations. The areas of impact include work on:

  • nurse home visiting to support early child development
  • development of methodologies and data sources for measuring harms and impacts, and social and economic costs, of gender-based violence and
  • measurement of loneliness in childhood and adolescence

Related Research Projects

Related Case Studies