School of Social and Political Science

Dr Mary Mitchell

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in Social Work

Photo
Mary Mitchell

Room number

2.23

Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)

Edinburgh

Country (Address)

UK

Research interests

Research interests

Participation, Childhood and Youth Studies, Child Welfare, social work interventions, families,  looked after children, recognition theory in social work practice,  reimagining outcomes, Qualitative Research Methods

Current research projects:

Principal Investigator

Children 1st  Bairns' Hoose Project (formally known as Child's House For Healing) - North Strathclyde Bairns Hoose (Barnahus) Evaluation of  (2021- 2024): 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.

Scottish Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinder Partnerships 

Aberdeen City Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinder (February 2024- September 2025); and Aberdeenshire Bairns Hoose Pathfinder (February 2024- September 2025)

Bairns' Hoose is a transformational, whole-system approach to delivering child protection, justice, and health support and services to child victims and witnesses of abuse and harm. The Scottish Government is funding several (six) Bairns' Hoose ‘pathfinders’ (2024-2025) with the aim of trialling and understanding Bairns' Hoose in different contexts across a variety of regions in Scotland. There will be significant learning from these sites for example understanding multi-disciplinary working in complex child protection contexts, the experience of children and their families through complex systems within the Bairns' Hoose, understanding systems change in relation to children affected by violence and maltreatment in different contexts. This knowledge will help inform the develop the  Bairns' Hoose model nationally.

In January 2024, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire  Councils were both awarded Bairns’ Hoose Pathfinder status and University of Edinburgh agreed to partner with both Bairns' Hoose Partnerships on their implementation journeys. It is recognised that a collaborative approach to learning across these sites will add value to Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire learning. 

Co-investigator:

Family Group Conferencing In Adult Social Care And Mental Health: Exploring How It Works And What Difference It Can Make In People’s Lives (2022-2025). NIHR funded PI - Prof Jerry Tew 

Co-creating an inclusive self-care curriculum to enhance wellbeing and learning for social work students (2021-2023).A Participatory Action Research Project with students from the Social Work programme. PTAS funding

If you are interested in being supervised by Mary Mitchell, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information:

Background

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 am currently the Master of Social Work Programme Director.  I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and teach across postgraduate and undergraduate courses. 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.

My current research interests lie in investigating two specific child welfare models: Family Group Conferencing, an international child welfare decision making process which aims to safeguard children from harm; and Barnahus, which means ‘a house for children’ in Icelandic –a child-friendly, multidisciplinary, and interagency model responding to child victims and witnesses of violence.

I am 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 have expertise in using qualitative methods, action research and case studies to explore the multi-dimensional nature of many practice problems.

I am currently the Principle Investigator for the formative evaluation of North Strathclyde Bairns Hoose Evaluation (2021-2024). Aberdeen City Bairns' Hoose Pathfinder (2024-2025) and Aberdeenshire Bairns' Hoose Pathfinder (2024-2025).

I am also a co-investigator on:  

Family Group Conferencing In Adult Social Care And Mental Health: Exploring How It Works And What Difference It Can Make In People’s Lives (2022-2025). NIHR funded PI - Prof Jerry Tew 

Co-creating an inclusive self-care curriculum to enhance wellbeing and learning for social work students - A  Participatory Action Research project (2021-2024) (PTAS funding). 

Winner – 2018 Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences Impact and Knowledge Exchange Award for “Reimagining Family Group Conferencing ‘outcomes’’.

PhD Supervision

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

Eilidh Lamb- Creating spaces for children who are victims and witnesses of violence to be heard and supported: Exploration of the multi-dimensional use of space in Scotland’s first Barnahus (Child’s House)

Xiao Zhang - Learning from Comparison: Multidisciplinary cooperation in child protection in Scotland and China

Recent Publications:

Mitchell, M., Warrington, C., Devaney, J., Lavoie J., Yates, P. (2023) North Strathclyde Bairns Hoose Evaluation: Phase One Report. Child Safety, Justice and Recovery Group, University of Edinburgh. Link  can be found on the project website  HERE

Mitchell, M., Lundy, L., Hill L (2023) Children’s Human Rights to ‘Participation’ and ‘Protection’: rethinking the relationship using Barnahus as a case example in Child Abuse Review http://doi.org/10.1002/car.2820

Mitchell, M., (2022) ‘Because I'm a kid …’: The struggle for recognition of children and young people involved in child and family social work in Child and Family Social Work – online  https://doi-org.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/10.1111/cfs.12905

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 

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:

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.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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O2mL4v8IozsbSz8dkbm6E9A8KDumsIfs/view?usp=sharing

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

Qualifications

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

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

By appointment

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Devaney J, Mitchell M, Alaggia R, Gray C. Papering the cracks or rebuilding the system – Opportunities and challenges for the Barnahus Model in the United Kingdom. In Johansson S, Stefansen K, Bakketeig E, Kaldal A, editors, Justice and Recovery for Victimised Children: Institutional Tensions in Nordic and European Barnahus Models. 1st ed. Palgrave Macmillan. 2024. (Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology).
Mitchell M, Lundy L, Hill L. Children's human rights to ‘participation’ and ‘protection’: Rethinking the relationship using Barnahus as a case example. Child Abuse Review. 2023 Nov 1;32(6):e2820. Epub 2023 Mar 26. doi: 10.1002/car.2820
Mitchell M, Warrington C, Devaney J, Lavoie J, Yates P. North Strathclyde Bairns Hoose Evaluation. The University of Edinburgh, 2023. 70 p.
Lavoie J, Mitchell M, Warrington C, Hill L, Yates P. Exploring justice tensions in the Barnahus model. In Johansson S, Stefansen K, Bakketeig E, Kaldal A, editors, Justice and Recovery for Victimised Children: Institutional Tensions in Nordic and European Barnahus Models. 1st ed. Palgrave Macmillan. 2023. (Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology).
Mitchell M. ‘Because I'm a kid …’: The struggle for recognition of children and young people involved in child and family social work. Child & Family Social Work. 2022 Aug;27(3):526-534. Epub 2022 Feb 7. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12905
Mitchell M. The value of recognition theory to Family Group Conferencing and child-care and protection. The British Journal of Social Work. 2021 Sept;51(6):2191-2209. Epub 2020 Dec 6. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcaa207
Mitchell M. A retrospective case study approach to studying FGC outcomes. In de Roo A, Jagtenberg R, editors, Family Group Conference Research: Reflections and Ways Forward. 1 ed. eleven international publishing. 2021. p. 113-128
Critchley A, Mitchell M. Can knowledge exchange forge a collaborative pathway to policymaking? A case study example of the Recognition Matters knowledge exchange project. The British Journal of Social Work. 2020 Dec 13;50(8):2298-2318. Epub 2020 Dec 13. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcaa220
Mitchell M, Ali S. Adaptive family group conferencing practice: Keeping families at the heart of decision making during COVID-19. 2020.
Cree VE, Morrison F, Mitchell M, Gulland J. Navigating the gendered academy: Women in social work academia. Social Work Education. 2020 Jul 3;39(5):650-664. Epub 2020 Jan 23. doi: 10.1080/02615479.2020.1715934
Mitchell M. Reimagining child welfare outcomes: Learning from Family Group Conferencing. Child & Family Social Work. 2020 May;25(2):211-220. Epub 2019 Jul 26. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12676
Mitchell M. Taking a fresh look at ‘outcomes’ in child care and protection: Learning from family group conferencing. 2019. Paper presented at National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference, Cork, Ireland.
Mitchell M, Tisdall EKM, Riddell C. Learning From Family Group Conferencing: Reimagining approaches and outcomes to child care and protection. Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, 2018. 1 p.
Mcmellon C, Mitchell M. Participatory action research and young people. In Hamilton L, Ravenscroft J, editors, Building Research Design in Education: Theoretically informed Advanced Methods. 1 ed. Bloomsbury Academic. 2018
Mitchell M, McMellon C. Participatory action research with young people. In Hamilton L, Ravenscroft J, editors, Building Research Design in Education: Theoretically Informed Advanced Methods. London: Bloomsbury. 2018. p. 173-196
Mitchell M, Tisdall EKM, McCluskey G, Riddell S. Keeping Youth Away from Crime: Searching for Best European Practices. Edinburgh: Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity (CREID), University of Edinburgh, 2014. 45 p.
McCluskey G, Tisdall EKM, Riddell S, Mitchell M. Keeping Youth Away from Crime: Searching for Best European Practices: Report to the Providus team. University of Edinburgh, 2014. 41 p.