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The experiences of families of African descent within the statutory child protection intervention in Scotland.

  • Full or part time
    Dr I Jackson
    Dr S Jackson
    Dr N Farmer
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Project reference number: SHLS019022

There is a paucity of research that has sought to explore the experiences of families of African descent within the statutory child protection context in Scotland. Anecdotal evidence through engagement with the African community in Scotland suggests that some families of African descent have had difficult experiences which has led to a lack of trust in social work services. Recent engagement with the families of African descent at GCU has highlighted that some families are bewildered by their engagement with social work services and that more generally there may be lack of informed understanding of the role of social work services.Moreover, there are concerns amongst the community that children of African descent are disproportionately being removed from families and / or that families experience disproportionate levels of statutory intervention as compared to white families.


We are interested in proposals which seek to:

(a) establish the level and nature of statutory intervention with families of African descent in Scotland
(b) explore the reasons for intervention
(c) explore the lived experiences of families from African descent who come into contact with child protection services
(d) establish how African families view social work services
(e) identify how African families understand the purpose of social work / child protection services

These aims are not prescriptive however any proposed work should seek to develop understandings which can improve practice with African families. This must be underpinned by an understanding of the lived experiences of families that is co-produced. We would also be interested in any work which explores contemporary social work practice with African families.

We are particularly interested in proposals that seek to use innovative methods which focus on the co-production of research with participants. The development of new methodologies is welcomed.


The successful applicant will be a qualified to degree level in a relevant subject. The minimum of a first degree (2:1 or above) is required. A masters level qualification is desirable as is previous research experience. Experience of co-productive research approaches would be welcomed. A professional social work qualification is preferred alongside relevant practice experience or equivalent. A strong understanding of the context of statutory children protection work in UK/Scotland would be beneficial. Experience in community engagement work and work which has a strong focus on African communities and / or other BME groups is highly desirable. Applications are particularly welcomed and strongly encouraged from persons with African descent.

Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed research proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of their application.

Research Strategy and Research Profile

Glasgow Caledonian University’s research is framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, We address the Goals via three societal challenge areas of Inclusive Societies, Healthy Lives and Sustainable Environments. For more. This project is part of the research activity of the Department of Social Work Research Group, Community and Public Engagement at GCU and the Centre for Living.

How to Apply

This project is available as a 3 year full-time PhD study programme with a start date of 1st October 2019
For information on how to apply and the online application form please go to
Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

Funding Notes

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