ACWA are thrilled to formally announce the first our international speaker line-up for Conference 2024: Reimagining Our Work with Children, Families and Community.

It is our pleasure to welcome Professor Emerita Brigid Daniel, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland and Professor Jonathan Scourfield, Cardiff University UK.

Brigid Daniel
MA (Hons), PhD, CQSW

Brigid Daniel, is Professor Emerita at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Brigid studied psychology and then undertook a PhD in infant perceptual-motor development. Following qualification as a social worker she practised in Edinburgh in a generic Intake team and then in Children and Families. She then worked at Dundee University on post-qualifying courses in child care and protection, at Stirling University as Senior Lecturer in Social Work, at Dundee as the Professor of Child Care and Protection and Stirling as the Professor of Social Work. Her final academic role was as Dean of the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Brigid researched and published in the areas of child development, children’s resilience, work with fathers and child neglect. Her co-authored book Child Protection for Child Care and Protection Workers and workbooks on Assessing and Promoting Resilience in Vulnerable Children have been widely used in social work education and practice. She was the initial Principal Investigator on the first Scottish longitudinal study of outcomes for children looked after away from home under the age of 5 ‘Permanently Progressing?’ and was the Scottish lead for the influential 4 UK nation Child Welfare Inequalities Project.

Brigid was a member of the multi-disciplinary team that reviewed child protection in Scotland, reported in ‘It’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m alright’ and was involved in ongoing consultation on subsequent child care and protection policy developments in Scotland. The model of resilience developed with Wassell and Gilligan is incorporated within Scotland’s flagship framework Getting it Right for Every Child. More recently for the Scottish Government Brigid chaired the steering group that guided a major revision of the National Child Protection Guidance and went on to chair the independent research steering group for the Children’s Services Research undertaken by CELCIS at Strathclyde University.

Prof. Jonathan Scourfield

Jonathan Scourfield is Professor of Social Work at Cardiff University, where he has worked since 1996. He has been involved with the leadership of CASCADE, the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre, since it was founded ten years ago. CASCADE is the largest centre of its kind in the UK. He is co-speciality lead for social care research in Wales and a Health and Care Research Wales Senior Research Leader. He is a registered social worker. In a recent analysis of academic impact in the social work field, based on citations in peer-reviewed journals, he was ranked #41 in the world.



Prof. Stephanie Holt

Stephanie Holt is Professor in Social Work in the School of Social Work & Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin where she has worked since 2000. Prior to that, Stephanie worked as a social worker in both Belfast and Dublin, across Children in Care, Child Protection and Family Support teams. Stephanie has researched and published primarily in the areas of child welfare and gender-based violence (GBV). She has a particular interest in engaging children and young people in research in order to bring new insights into how very young children experience adversity such as GBV.

Stephanie is currently Co-Co-Principal Investigator on the first Irish study to seek the views of care experienced young adults. Commissioned by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, this milestone new study is exploring the experiences and outcomes of young adults who left the Irish care system approximately ten years ago in the aftermath of the Ryan Report. Stephanie is concurrently leading on another innovative research project commissioned by Women’s Aid. This mixed methods study is exploring the experiences of adult and child victims/survivors of GBV as they navigate the Irish Family Law system in custody and access proceedings.

Stephanie is currently Head of School and a registered social worker (CORU).