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Influential social work researcher joins University

8 January 2016

Donald Forrester. Credit: University of Bedfordshire
Credit: University of Bedfordshire

Professor Donald Forrester appointed as Director of CASCADE

One of the UK’s leading researchers in social work has joined the University and will help further its reputation for impact and research excellence in social sciences.

Professor Donald Forrester has been appointed as Professor in Child and Family Social Work and new Director of CASCADE, the Children’s Social Care Research and Development Centre.

A well-known and influential figure in his field, Professor Forrester’s research focuses on improving the quality of social work practice. His work as a leading evaluative researcher makes him well-placed to contribute to the School of Social Sciences’ record of impacting upon public debate, policy development and practice-based innovations.

Most recently he has conducted research into motivational interviewing in children’s services, evaluated the ‘Hackney Model’ of child protection services, and advised the Welsh Government on the establishment of the Integrated Family Support Services scheme. He joins Cardiff from the University of Bedfordshire where he ran the Tilda Goldberg Centre, one of the largest social work research centres in the UK.

Professor Forrester was also the Lead Professor for Frontline, the social work education scheme which prioritises hands-on experience and practice-based learning.

Discussing his new role, Professor Forrester said: “For a relatively new Centre CASCADE has already established an impressive reputation for research in child and family social care. I am excited at the possibility of developing the Centre further.

“Cardiff University seems an ideal place to develop an outstanding centre for social work. It has established international excellence in research including the DECIPHER centre for complex evaluations, the South East Wales Trials Unit and globally recognised qualitative researchers and I look forward to developing projects across the University. There are already strong links between policymakers, practitioners, children and young people who use services and academics and an established commitment to research that makes a positive difference for children in Wales and beyond.

“The University is also making a substantial investment in building the world’s first Social Science Research Park (SPARK) to bring together innovative research across the Social Sciences. I am delighted that CASCADE will be at the centre of this unique initiative.”

The only centre of its kind in Wales, CASCADE brings together children’s social care researchers in Wales in order to promote evidence and better meet the needs of policy and practice so as to improve outcomes for children and their families.

Professor Amanda Coffey, Head of the School of Social Sciences said: “'I am delighted that Donald has joined Cardiff University. His appointment will ensure that CASCADE continues to go from strength to strength.”