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Karen Winter

BSocSc (Hons) Social Administration (1988)
MA in Social Work (1992), CQSW (1992)
Practice Teaching Award (1996)
Post Qualifying Award in Social Work (1997)
Advanced Award in Social Work (2003)
PhD (2009)
PGCHET (2009)

Lecturer in Social Work
Room 2.09, 6 College Park
Ext: 3917; Email: 


Leadership roles

Programme Director DChild (taught doctorate in childhood studies)


Recent and current administrative roles

2014 – Staff rep on Academic Council

2012 - Programme Director DChild (Professional Doctorate Childhood Studies);

2009-2012 Programme Director BSW programme;

2009-2011 Staff rep Senior Management Board;

2009-2010 Staff rep on the PGCHET Staff Student Consultative Committee


External appointments/awards

2013 - Member of advisory committee Fostering Network Northern Ireland

2012 - External examiner BSW programme University of Sussex 2012

2012 – Teaching award Queen’s University Belfast

2011 – Consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers


Research interests

Communicating with children

Children’s rights

Children and young people in care


Teaching interests

Court work skills

Research, policy and practice

Critical perspectives on early childhood

Children and families

PhD supervision

I welcome PhD applications in relation to any aspect of communicating with children, children’s rights, children and young people in care and childhoods. For a list of the names of the PhD students I am supervising and their research areas please follow link at the bottom of this page.

Current Research Projects

2012-2015 Holland, S. (PI), Cree, V. (CI), Winter, K. (CI), Hadfield, M. (CI) and Ruch, G. (CI). ‘Communicating with Vulnerable Children: Understanding the Everyday Practices of Child and Family Social Workers’, funder ESRC.  Follow link for further information:

2012-15 Kelly, B (PI), Winter, K. (CI) and Dowling, S. (RA). Meeting the Needs of Disabled Children and Young People in Northern Ireland, funder OFMDFM, Belfast.

2013-2014 Winter, K. (PI), Byrne, B. and Lloyd, K. ‘Provision of an Evidence Base Regarding How the Right to Family Life of Children on the Edge of Care and in Care is Protected and Promoted in Northern Ireland’,funder Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

2013-2014 Winter, K. (PI), Connolly, P. (CI) and Mooney, J. (DEL PhD studentship) ‘Effects of the Letterbox Club on the Educational Outcomes for Primary School Children aged 7-11 years in Foster Care in Northern Ireland’, funder Fostering Network Northern Ireland. 


Winter, K (forthcoming) Decision-making processes in review meetings for children in care: a Bourdieusian analysis. In Childhood with Bourdieu, B. Mayall, L. Brooker. and L. Alanen (eds.), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Winter, K (forthcoming) Innovative research methods with young children aged 4-7 years, in Handbook of Research Methods in Early Childhood Education, O. Saracho (ed.), University of Maryland, Information Age Publishing Inc.

Kelly, B., Dowling, S. and Winter, K. (2013) A Review of the Legislative and Policy Context in relation to Looked After Disabled Children and Young People in Northern Ireland. Belfast: Queen’s University Belfast

Winter, K. (2012) Understanding and supporting young children’s transitions into state care: Schlossberg’s transition framework and child-centred practice, British Journal of Social Work, doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcs128.

Winter, K. (2012) Ascertaining the perspectives of young children in care: case studies using reality boxes, Children and Society: The International Journal of Childhood and Children's Services, 26(5), 368-380.

Winter, K. (2011) Building Relationships and Communicating with Young Children: a Practical Guide for Social Workers, London: Routledge.

Winter, K. (2011) The UNCRC and social workers' relationships with young children, Child Abuse Review, 20(6), 395-406.

Winter K., Connolly P., Bell, I. and Ferguson, J. (2011) An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Letterbox Club in Improving Educational Outcomes among Children Aged 7-11 Years in Foster Care in Northern Ireland, Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, Queen’s University Belfast.

Winter, K. (2010) The perspectives of young children in care and implications for social work practice, Child and Family Social Work, 15(2),186-195.

Winter, K. (2009) Relationships Matter: the problems and prospects for social workers’ relationships with young children in care, Child and Family Social Work, 14, 450-460.

Winter, K. (2009) Recent policy initiatives in early childhood and the challenges for the social work profession, British Journal of Social Work, 39, 1235-1255.


Full list of publications