SPEAKERS

John Canavan is Personal Professor in Political Science and Sociology, and Associate Director of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, at National University of Ireland, Galway. He is the co-author / co-editor of three books on Family Support and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters. Additionally, he is the author / co-author of more than 90 reports in the field of children’s policy and practice.  His main research interests are Family Support, Evaluation Research Theory and Methodology, Evidence Informed Practice, and the Sociology of the Family.  Between 2014 and 2018, John led a major study on the development and implementation of Prevention and Family Support within Ireland’s Child Protection and Welfare Agency, Tusla. John teaches at Under-graduate and Post-graduate level at NUI Galway; he is a member of the M.A. in Family Support programme team since its inception in 2003 and he co-directs the Structured Ph.D. in Child and Youth Research. John is currently Vice-chairperson of the COST Action 18123, a Europe-wide network focused on the development of Family Support theory, policy and practice. In 2019, John received the NUI Galway President’s Award for Research Excellence (Established Researcher).

Penelope Welbourne is Associate Professor of Social Work at Plymouth University. She is a qualified social worker, with experience of working in child welfare and child protection services. Since 2000, she has been an academic at the University of Plymouth. Her research and writing reflects a primary interest in child and family services, especially when there is ‘statutory’ intervention. A particular interest is the way the legal system manages the balance between child and parent rights, with a focus on child welfare and children’s participation rights. She is a founding member of the new UK branch of the Association for Therapeutic Justice. She has trained the English Family Court judiciary on the importance of hearing children’s wishes and feelings, and has a strong commitment to valuing children’s views in accordance with the UNCRC. Current interests include compulsory child removal cases where parents have capacity issues, such as a learning disability, and management of rights issues within those proceedings, and evaluation of an initiative aimed at strengthening parental ability to retain care of their children after having at least two children removed from their care. Her recent books include Child Protection and Child Welfare: A Global Appraisal of Cultures, Policy and Practice (Eds Penelope Welbourne and John Dixon, Jessica Kingsley Publishers) and Social Work with Children and Families: Developing Advanced Practice (Penelope Welbourne, Routledge).