A qualified social worker, I have over thirty years professional experience in social work and community work, with a particular emphasis on work with children, young people and families. I have worked extensively in the voluntary, non-government and government sectors in both Australia and Scotland. I have also taught social work, community education and childhood practice at a number of academic institutions. In 2018 I completed my PhD (Social Policy) ‘Reimagining Family Group Conferencing (FGC) ‘Outcomes’’, which focused on investigating the contribution FGC makes towards outcomes for looked after children at risk of being accommodated, and their families.
My current research interests lie in investigating Family Group Conferencing as a decision-making process. I am particularly interested in looking at issues, such as “who defines outcomes?”, the role of recognition in childcare and protection and young people’s participation in decision making.
I am currently the Principle Investigator for the evaluation of Scotland's Barnahus: Child's House for Healing (2021-2024).
Winner – 2018 Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Impact and Knowledge Exchange Award for “Reimagining Family Group Conferencing ‘outcomes’’.
I teach on both the undergraduate and Master in Social Work programmes. My teaching interests include child and family social work, community social work, social work skills and values, community based social work and qualitative research methodology.
Lauren Lamberton - New challenges in mental health provision: e-mental health support
Ruibing Sha - Exploring the feelings of foster carers on the departure of children from their care
Hamido Megahead - The transitioning of young Egyptian males in residential care from mixed sex provision to single-sex (male only) provision
Mitchell, M., (2021) Chapter 7. A Retrospective Case Study Approach to Studying FGC Outcomes in Annie de Roo and Rob Jagtenberg (eds) Family Group Conferencing Research - Reflections and Ways Forward (forthcoming)
Mitchell, M., (2020) The value of Recognition Theory to Family Group Conferencing and child-care and protection, bcaa207 British Journal of Social Work
Critchley, A. and Mitchell, M., (2020) Can knowledge exchange forge a collaborative pathway to policymaking? A case study example of the Recognition Matters knowledge exchange project. British Journal of Social Work bcaa220, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcaa220
Mitchell, M. and Ali, S., (2020) Adaptive Family Group Conferencing practice: keeping families at the heart of decision making during COVID19, Social Work 2020 under Covid-19 Magazine, edition 5
Mitchell. M., (2020) Reimagining child welfare outcomes: Learning from family group conferencing. Child & Family Social Work. vol 25 (2) pp 211-220 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cfs.12676
Cree, V., Morrison, F., Mitchell, M. and Gulland, J. (2020) Navigating the gendered academy: women in social work academia. Social Work Education https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2020.1715934
Mitchell, M., Tisdall , K., Riddell C., (2018) Learning from FGC: Reimagining approaches and outcomes to child care and protection FGC, Research Briefing Paper: CRFR and Children 1st https://www.children1st.org.uk/media/6738/fgcbriefingpaper.pdf
Mitchell (2018) Reimagining family group conferencing 'outcomes' . The University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2018. (thesis) 13831240. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/docview/2164133897?pq-origsite=primo
McMellon, C. and Mitchell, M. (2018) ‘Participatory Action Research and Young People’ in Building Research Design in Education: Theoretically informed Advanced Methods, John Ravenscroft and Lorna Hamilton (eds) , Bloomsbury publishing Ltd
McMellon, C. and Mitchell, M. (2016) Reinvigorating young people’s participation in Edinburgh, CRFR Briefing Paper 85
Knowledge Exchange Activities:
Recognition Matters Knowledge Exchange Materials released on 23.6.2020:
Recognition Matters Film - https://youtu.be/wydm54Gk9mI
Azaria's Story - https://youtu.be/NC68ZsmX86M
Briefing Note, June 2020
Heather: - https://youtu.be/QfDcY16ib1M
Nicky: - https://youtu.be/N5Ls1riYksc
Julie: - https://youtu.be/j-6eTLXJI5Y
Young Edinburgh Action and CRFR Knowledge Exchange Project (2016) : A film exploring young people's experiences of being a young researcher 2016
PhD (Social Policy), 2018, The University of Edinburgh
Family Group Conferencing Certificate, 2013 (distinction), Robert Gordon University
MSc Childhood Studies, 2013 (distinction), The University of Edinburgh
MSc Integrated Service Improvement 2012, The University of Edinburgh
Master of Social Work and Diploma in Social Work/CQSW 1996-1998, The University of Edinburgh
Bachelor of Arts 1985 – 1990, Macquarie University
Participation, Childhood and Youth Studies, Child Welfare, social work interventions, families, repositioning positions of power, looked after children, Recognition Theory in social work practice, community social work, reimagining outcomes, Qualitative Research Methods
Current research projects:
2021- 2024 Barnahus: Child's House of Healing : A new £1.5m project funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery. The Child’s House is based on the Barnahus model, and is a partnership between Children 1st (the lead organisation), Victim Support Scotland, Children England and our department. On welcoming the announcement Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government supports the concept of a Barnahus for Scotland and is committed to bringing forward Scottish Barnahus Standards to support a trauma-informed, co-ordinated and effective response for child victims and witnesses of violence and abuse by placing the child or young person’s rights, well-being and best interests at the centre.” Lead for evaluation.
2019-2020 Recognition Matters: the value of recognition in child care and protection. This is a collaborative Knowledge Exchange and Impact project with Dr Ariane Critchley, Edinburgh Napier University and Family Group Decision Making Service, City of Edinburgh Council.
If you are interested in being supervised by Mary Mitchell, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information: