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Dr Mandi MacDonald

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work
Dr Mandi MacDonald

Dr Mandi MacDonald

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

Mandi’s research is dedicated to children and young people in state care and adopted from care, and to supporting the families of children in need. Her work focuses on: assessing and enhancing parenting capacity; the experience of family life in permanent placements; post-adoption contact; adoptive parenthood; and kinship care.

She has expertise in interpretative qualitative research methods. Mandi has many years’ experience as a social worker in child welfare services, and now works alongside practitioners to translate her research into innovative practice solutions to benefit children and families.

Research Interests

Open to PhD applications in the field of

  • Adoption, kinship care, leaving care
  • Parenting capacity

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Public outreach & key achievements

  • Following a first year of working with Senior Practitioners to refine the Building Better Futures framework for
    assessing and enhancing parenting capacity in child protection, the Senior Practitioners are now acting as change 
    agents to embed learning and support the use of the framework across selected Family Intervention Teams in 
    each of the Health and Social Care Trusts.

Research students

PhD Title Birth parents' experiences of contact with children adopted from care: identifying the barriers and enablers to maintaining positive connections
Name Sarah Hansen
Country Northern Ireland


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