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 Sophie Wood

Sophie Wood

Research Associate, CASCADE

Email
woods16@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2068 7202
Campuses
sbarc|spark, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

Overview

I am a research associate in the Children's Social Care Research and Development Centre. I am currently working on a large evaluation of family group conferences in the UK. The study aims to understand not only if family group conferences are effective at reducing the number of children in care, but also how they work, for whom and under what circumstances. For more information please see this video

I am also leading a project about how and what multi-agency data local authorities could use to inform services for children and families and I am co-investigator on a project exploring the referral pathways and outcomes of criminally exploited children.

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.

Biography

Education

  • 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)

Publications

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

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:

I am currently working on a large evaluation of family group conferences in the UK. I am also leading a project about how and what multi-agency data local authorities could use to inform services for children and families and I am co-investigator on a project exploring the referral pathways and outcomes of criminally exploited children.

Previous projects:

Children's social services and care rates in Wales: A survey of the sector. Survey of individuals who work in children’s social care to explore variation in rates of looked after children among local authorities in Wales. The study explored the 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. We found that differences in organisational culture, values, attitudes, decision making and practice could be contributing to these differences in rates of care. Funded by the Welsh Government. Report available here: https://www.wcpp.org.uk/publication/children-looked-after-in-wales-survey/ 

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. Report available here: https://whatworks-csc.org.uk/research-report/unlocking-the-facts-young-people-referred-to-secure-childrens-homes/ 

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 

Supervision

Past projects

Primary supervisor for Alicia Evans (MA Social Work)- ‘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).

Co- supervisor for Emina Tuzovic (MSc Data Science and Analytics) - 'Detecting the Magnitude of Social Worker Stress Through Twitter (awarded 2021).