Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
 Sophie Wood

Sophie Wood

Research Associate, CASCADE

+44 (0)29 2068 7202
sbarc|spark, Heol Maendy, Cathays, Caerdydd, CF24 4HQ


I am a research associate in the Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre. I am currently working on a project funded by the Welsh Government to explore variation in rates of looked after children among local authorities in Wales, in terms of why some local authorities’ rates are increasing, some are decreasing, and some are remaining steady. These differences cannot be explained by deprivation alone. We will survey individuals working in children’s social care to explore differences in organisational culture, values, attitudes, decision making and practice which could be contributing to these differences in rates of care.

Prior to this, I worked on a data linkage project using routinely collected administrative records to investigate outcomes for young people referred to secure accommodation for welfare reasons in England. We used data held by the Secure Welfare Coordination Unit linked to Child Looked After Returns and Child in Need Census to explore the socio-demographic, well-being and care histories of young people prior referral to secure accommodation; outcomes after secure accommodation in relation to placements, substance misuse, convictions and mental health; and the cost of secure accommodation compared to other alternative provisions. I hope to further work in this crucial, yet under-researched area.

My main research interests are older children in care, young people's mental health, secure accommodation, safely reducing the need for children to enter care and care leavers. My background is in the analysis and linkage of large health care records across the UK to look at patterns of care for adolescents with mental health disorders. I believe that a mixture of methods are required to answer complex questions, particularly in children's social care.



  • University of Exeter (2013- 2014) - MSc Environment and Human Health: Distinction
  • University of Liverpool (2010- 2013) - BA Geography: First- Class Honours

Academic Positions 

  • Research Associate- CASCADE, Cardiff University (present)
  • Research Assistant  - Population Psychiatry, Suicide and Informatics, Swansea University (2018)
  • Research Assistant - Division of Population Medicine, Cardiff University (2015 – 2018)
  • Research Assistant- European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter (2015)









My research to date has focused on children’s health and social care. I have used a range of quantitative and qualitative methods including the analysis of administrative data records, surveys, interviews, focus groups, systematic reviews and realist reviews.

Current project:

Survey of individuals who work in children’s social care to explore variation in rates of looked after children among local authorities in Wales. Funded by the Welsh Government.

Previous projects:

What happens to young people referred to secure accommodation? Data linkage project using routinely collected administrative data records held in England: Child Looked After Returns, Child in Need Census, and Secure Welfare Coordination Unit. The research explored the outcomes for young people referred to secure accommodation in England. Commissioned by What Works for Children’s Social Care and funded by the Department for Education. Due to be published imminently.

Rapid Realist Review: Family Budget Change Interventions. Rapid realist evidence assessment to develop a programme theory - using the EMMIE framework (effect, mediators, moderators, implementation and economics) - for how, whom and under what circumstance interventions which increase or decrease a family’s budget work and how these interventions effect the number of children in care. Commissioned by What Works for Children’s Social Care and funded by the Department for Education. Report available here: https://whatworks-csc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/WWCSC_Family_Budget_Change_rapid_evidence_assessment_Summary_Report_Aug2019-1.pdf 

Child Health Outcome Review Programme: Mental Healthcare in Young People and Young Adults. Four nation study in the UK using routinely collected administrative healthcare data to explore patterns of healthcare for children and young people with mental health disorders. Multiple data sets used, including data from: CPRD (UK), SAIL (Wales), NHS Digital (England), ISD (Scotland), and HBS (Northern Ireland). Commissioned by the Health Quality Improvement Partnership and funded by the NHS. Report available here: https://www.hqip.org.uk/resource/mental-healthcare-in-young-people-and-young-adults/#.X4RQ5WhKjIU (report 2)

The relationship between childhood obesity and proximity to the coast. Using publicly available area level data (National Child Measurement Programme, ONS, Department for Communities and Local Government, Data and Statistics Infrastructure Division) and spatial analysis, the association between childhood obesity and proximity to the coast was tested. The study was based on my MSc research which was supported in part by the European Social Fund Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (11200NCO5). Paper available here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2016.05.010 


Past projects

Primary supervisor for Alicia Evans (MA)- ‘The familiar names are just heart-breaking.’ Who are the women at-risk of experiencing repeat pregnancy, recurrent care proceedings and loss of a child to adoption? A multi-faceted profile (awarded 2020).