Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Child and Family Research

Centre staff

Lisa Holmes

Dr Lisa Holmes

tel: 01509 228878

Location: Room U224

Main areas of responsibility

Lisa took on the role of Director of CCFR after Professor Harriet Ward's retirement in March 2014. Lisa oversees all research carried out by the Centre.

Lisa has worked as a researcher in the department since 2000 and was involved in the formation of CCFR in 2001. Since then she has undertaken a body of research funded by the Department of Health and the Department for Education (formally Department for Children, Schools and Families) to inform policy and practice. Lisa currently manages the Costs and Outcomes research programme, which aims to explore the relationship between needs, costs and outcomes of services provided to vulnerable children. This work includes development of an outcomes framework and analysis of children’s needs. 

In 2005 Lisa was seconded to DCSF to work with the Looked After children Taskforce to disseminate research findings and produce a practice guide and resource pack to assist children’s services department with the strategic development and planning of services to best meet the needs of vulnerable children. Along with Harriet Ward and Jean Soper, Lisa has led the development of the award winning Cost Calculator for Children’s Services.

Clare Lushey Picture

Clare Lushey
Research Associate

tel: 01509 228366

Location: Room U222

Main areas of responsibility

Clare joined CCFR in May 2009 and has undertaken a number of studies aimed at promoting positive outcomes for vulnerable children and families and informing policy and practice.

Current work includes the evaluation of North Yorkshire County Council’s No Wrong Door innovation programme, which is funded under the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme. In addition to this Clare recently completed an evaluation of the TwentyTwenty lifeskills centres.

Previously Clare worked on the development and evaluation of a new pre-birth assessment model, in collaboration with the NSPCC and the University of Warwickshire and undertook a number of responsive studies as part of her role within the Childhood and Wellbeing Research Centre. Studies undertaken focused on post adoption support, the SCIE methodology for serious case reviews and the impact of Professor Munro’s Review of Child Protection. Clare also took a prominent role in the evaluations of both the Right2BCared4 initiative and the Staying Put: 18 Plus Family Placement Programme (funded by the Department for Education). Both aimed to enhance the leaving care process and improve outcomes for care leavers.  

Previous roles include working as a Research Associate at the University of Nottingham and a Research Assistant at Liverpool John Moore’s University.

Clare’s research interests include transitions from care to adulthood, outcomes for looked after children and care leavers, and the peer research methodology. In pursuing these research interests Clare has gained extensive experience in interviewing birth and adoptive parents, foster carers, children and young people, and a wide range of professionals including those from Children’s Social Care (e.g. social workers), the police force, health service, and the voluntary sector. In addition to this Clare has experience of analysing qualitative and quantitative data and disseminating findings to academics, policy makers, practitioners, and children and young people.

Smaller Georgia Picture

Dr Georgia Hyde-Dryden
Research Associate

tel: 01509 228879

Location: U221

Main areas of responsibility


Georgia has an LLB (hons) in Law, German Law and Language from the University of East Anglia and attended the College of Law in York before working as a solicitor in private practice. She then decided to pursue her interest in social policy, initially working for a consultancy involved in training and research on disability issues. Georgia subsequently obtained an MRes and completed her PhD at Loughborough University and joined CCFR in 2013.

Georgia’s PhD title: ‘Overcoming by degrees: exploring care leavers’ experiences of higher education in England.

Research interests

Transitions from care into adulthood including service provision, pathways and outcomes; the education of looked after children and care leavers; safeguarding. Georgia is a founder member of CoRiT, an international group for PhD students and early career researchers interested in young peoples’ transitions from care into adulthood.

Current projects

  • Infants suffering or likely to suffer significant harm
Smaller Helen Trivedi Picture

Helen Trivedi
Research Associate

tel: 01509 228759

Location: U221

Main areas of responsibility

Helen graduated from Coventry University in 2008 with a BSc first class (hons.) in Psychology.  In 2009 she went to the University of Warwick where she obtained a Masters in Research Methods in Psychology.

For three and a half years Helen worked at a secondary school in Coventry.  The main part of her role was to support vulnerable children and their families to overcome barriers to learning.  These barriers included home environment, social-economic issues and lack of ambition to achieve.  While at the school she conducted research using Strength and Difficulty Questionnaires to assess students’ support needs.  The outcomes of this research informed the process of assigning intervention for students, in order to support them to overcome barriers to their success.

Helen joined the Centre in April 2013 to work on the Costs and Outcomes research programme.  Her main focus will be on Head, Heart and Hands: Bringing up children in foster care: a Social Pedagogic approach evaluation project.

Research interests:

Children and young people’s perspectives; emotional health and well-being; non-typical family structures.

Harriet Ward

Professor Harriet Ward
Research Professor

tel: 01509 223672

Location: Room U207

Main areas of responsibility

Professor Harriet Ward was director of the Centre for Child and Family Research (CCFR) until March 2014 and is co-director of the Department for Education funded Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC). She has over 20 years experience both as a research director and field researcher, as an adviser to policymakers and service providers, and as a social work practitioner.

Her leadership of the Looking After Children programme (1993-2001), from which much of the CCFR research programme originally derived, was a highly influential contribution to government policy and practice in the UK and abroad. It also led to a number of research initiatives, which informed the development of the CCFR programmes of research on outcomes for vulnerable children and exploring costs and outcomes. She has recently completed a major research study on infants suffering, or likely to suffer significant harm and co-authored Safeguarding Children Across Services: Messages from Research on Identifying and Responding to Child Maltreatment, the Overview of the Department of Health and Department for Education funded Safeguarding Children Research Initiative. Harriet was awarded a CBE for services to children and families in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Visiting research fellows

Deborah Ghate

Deborah Ghate
Visiting Research Fellow



Main areas of responsibility

Deborah is the Chief Executive of the Colebrooke Centre for Evidence and Implementation. She has worked in social policy and intervention science for 25 years, pursuing a strong interest in ‘what works’ in child and family services. Between 2008 and 2011 she was the founding Chief Executive of the Centre for Effective Services in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and between 1998 and 2007 she directed the Policy Research Bureau in London, a leading independent research centre conducting research and evaluation studies in policy and practice in child and family services. She is the author of  many publications that cover the fields of family and parenting support, youth justice, evaluation methods and implementation science, including: What Works in Parenting Support?: a review of the international evidence for the Home Office and Department for Education and Skills (2004; with Moran and Van der Merwe); Parenting in poor environments: stress, support and coping  London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2002; with Hazel); Reducing risk and increasing resilience: how did On Track work? for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (2008; with Asmussen, Tian and Hauari), and Interventions for children at risk of developing antisocial personality disorder for the cabinet Office and the Department of Health (2007, with Utting and Montiero).

Doug Lawson
Social Work Consultant



Main areas of responsibility

Doug had an extensive career as a social worker and strategic, policy and operational manager of children’s social care services in local authorities in the north west before becoming an independent children's services consultant in 2009. He works with a wide range of public, voluntary and private sector organisations, and has particular expertise in foster care and services for looked after children. Doug was the fostering lead for the Looked After Children’s Taskforce and subsequently worked on the review of the statutory framework for looked after children in 2010-11, including drafting statutory guidance for fostering services and for family and friends care.

Doug has been associated with CCFR since 2004 in a variety of roles. These include contributing towards the development of the Cost Calculator for Children’s Services,  advising on the development of resource packs for managers, and conducting research interviews for studies of young children at risk of harm, the impact of short break services, and decision making on reunification of looked after children.

An associate of the Fostering Network, Doug has provided consultancy and management for a variety of developments including the social pedagogy in foster care programme and quality assurance support for managers of fostering services. He has written a series of handbooks to help social workers and foster carers to develop good practice within the statutory framework, a guide for kinship carers, and a Staying Put good practice guide.


Staff profile pic ofJenny Blackmore

Jenny Blackmore

tel: 01509 228758


Main areas of responsibility

Jenny Blackmore worked as a secondary school teacher before entering the field of research in social care and education in 2000.  Jenny has worked for a variety of sponsors including the DfE, local authorities and the voluntary sector. 

Jenny has been associated with CCFR since 2001.  Over the last nine years, Jenny has been a consultant with the prospective longitudinal study, Infants Suffering, or Likely to Suffer, Significant Harm. Jenny’s role has focused mainly on the fieldwork element of the research, and she has undertaken extensive interviews with parents and carers, professionals and with the children themselves.

Jenny has contributed to research in a wide range of areas. These include post-adoption support services, the reunification of looked after children, concurrent planning, short break services and services for care leavers. 

Until 2013, Jenny was employed (part time) for nine years by a local authority as an Independent Reviewing Officer of foster carers.  Prior to that, she worked on policy development and planning within social care.  During this time she wrote the strategic plan for the development of services for children with disabilities in a local authority.  Since 2013, Jenny has focused solely on her work as a researcher.

Claire Baker picture

Claire Baker

tel: 01509 228758


Main areas of responsibility

Dr. Claire Baker is an independent research and practice consultant committed to improving outcomes for children in and leaving care. Claire worked as National Senior Policy Manager for the National Care Advisory Service (NCAS), part of young people’s charity Catch22 for 8 years. Prior to this she worked as a Research Fellow at the Social Work Research and Development Unit at the University of York, concentrating on children in and leaving care (particularly disabled children), children in foster care, and stability and permanence issues. She is co-author of a number of titles in this field including The Pursuit of permanence: a study of the English Child care system’ and Foster Children: Where they go and how they get on both published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Support team

Susan Knight - photo

Susan Knight

tel: 01509 223616

Location: Room U208

Main areas of responsibility

Susan joined CCFR in 2011. She provides PA support to Lisa Holmes, Director of CCFR, as well as day to day support to the researchers and the senior centre administrator in a variety of roles. Her main duties include diary management, travel arrangements, proofing and formatting of documents, arranging meetings and conference calls, organising conferences, raising supplier invoices as well as many other ad hoc administrative duties.



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