Skip to main content
Dr Nina Maxwell

Dr Nina Maxwell

Principal Research Fellow, CASCADE

+44 (0)29 2251 0944
sbarc|spark, Maindy Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a chartered psychologist and mixed methods researcher with interests in three areas: adolescence, workforce development and private family law. I am speciality co-lead for social care research in Wales and Acting Deputy Director for CASCADE.

My research on Youth, Society and Risk focuses on improving the outcomes for young people. I have undertaken numerous research and evaluation studies across a range of areas including adoption, child criminal exploitation, father engagement, home education,  and youth violence. I am currently leading a study on the referral pathways and service outcomes for criminally exploited young people in Wales.

My research on workforce development has included evaluative research fast track training programmes for social workers and studies on specific interventions, such as Video Interaction Guidance.

Finally, I have conducted several evidence reviews in private family law, e.g. shared parenting, and parental alienation. More recently, I conducted a research study on the development of Supporting Separating Families Alliances in Wales.

My research interests have come together in a key part of my current role - in which I am coordinating and developing the evaluative work of CASCADE as part of Health and Care Research Wales infrastructure funding. This is an exciting opportunity to bring my areas of interest together and to develop the skills and knowledge of other researchers. We are fortunate that this strand of our work is being delivered in partnership with Professor Mike Robling of the Centre for Trials Research, and I am looking forward to exploring the development of advanced evaluative methodologies across children's social care.


Education and qualifications

  • 2002: PhD (Psychology and Education), University of Glamorgan
  • 2004: MSc Occupational Psychology, Cardiff University
  • 1998: BSc (Hons) Psychology with Criminal Justice, University of Glamorgan

Honours and awards

  • Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (AFBPsS)

Professional memberships

  • Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society

Academic positions

  • Principal Research Fellow, CASCADE, Cardiff University (2022 - current)
  • Senior Research Fellow, CASCADE, Cardiff University (2020 - 2022)
  • Research Fellow, CASCADE, Cardiff University (2019 - 2020)
  • Research Associate, CASCADE, Cardiff University (2014 - 2018)
  • Research Consultant, Huxley-Maxwell Consultants (2012 - 2013)
  • Research Associate, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University (2010 - 2011)
  • Research Officer, Centre for Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University (2007 - 2009)
  • Research Associate, School of Social Science, Cardiff University (2001-2006)
  • Simulation Fellow, Centre for Lifelong Learning University of Glamorgan (1998-2001)

Speaking engagements

  • Welsh Centre for Crime and Social Justice (2023)
  • Tackling County Lines: A shared responsibility. Regional Police Conference (2023)
  • European Society of Criminology, Malaga, Spain (2022)
  • European Social Services Conference, Milan, Italy (2019).
  • Association for Video Interaction Guidance UK International Conference (2018).
  • European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents, Porto, Portugal (2018).

Committees and reviewing

  • NIHR, HTA Programme, Prioritisation Committee: Social Care 
  • Evaluation Technical Advisory Group: Youth Endowment Fund 
  • External committee member for the Cafcass Research Advisory Committee.
  • Associate member of the Wales Violence Prevention Unit.
  • Member of the School of Social Sciences Research Ethics Committee (SREC).
  • Editorial Board member for the British Journal of Social Work
  • Reviewer for social work and education journals.
























  • Social Work Research in Action (Doctor of Social Work and MSc Social Science Research Methods)
  • Lectures and workshops on various topics, including child criminal exploitation, systematic reviewing
Research interests:
  • Youth, Society and Risk
  • Workforce development
  • Private family law
Current research projects:
What are the service outcomes for criminally exploited children? A case study of criminally exploited children’s service journeys in two local authorities in Wales
The aim of this 2-year project is to create detailed case studies of criminally exploited young people’s lived experiences of service pathways, provision and outcomes five years prior to referral acceptance and up to 2 years after. 

The aim of this evaluation is to examine the implementation, delivery and impact of the service across four sites in the UK on diverting children and young people from criminality based on (1) analysis of service data, (2) an online survey (3) semi-structured interviews, (4) case file analysis, and (5) analysis of police administrative data. In addition, the evaluation examines the thematic areas of identification, capacity building, multi-agency working, and targeted interventions.

Past research projects:

In partnership with Barnardo’s, this 18-month exploratory research project is aimed at creating a toolkit for an effective service response to improve the outcomes for children at risk or involved in county lines. This project will contribute to the knowledge base regarding the nature and scale of the problem, what approaches and interventions are most effective and how contextual safeguarding approaches can be used in practice within the Welsh context.
I convene the Youth, Society and Risk Research Development Group in CASCADE


I am interested in supervising PhD students with interests connected to:

  • Youth, Society and Risk including child criminal exploitation.
  • Workforce development.
  • Private law.