School of Sociology and Social Policy

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Siobhan Laird

Associate Professor in Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences



Dr. Siobhan E. Laird originally studied English and Philosophy receiving a BA degree in 1984 from Queen's University of Belfast. In 1990 she qualified with a B.Sc. Degree in Estate Management and worked as a property surveyor in the public and private sectors in both Belfast and London for a number of years. Making a career change she became a welfare rights adviser and later a residential care worker for young people. She obtained her Post-Graduate Diploma in Social Work in 1994. Training in mental health and child protection she worked for several years in community care assisting people with physical disabilities and mental health needs. Dr. Laird also holds a M.Sc. Degree in Counselling and has worked as a counsellor in the voluntary sector.

In 1997 Dr. Laird took up an academic appointment in West Africa at the University of Ghana, where she became Head of Social Work. On her return to the United Kingdom in 2000 Dr. Laird completed a Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She lectured at the University of Sheffield before taking up an academic appointment in social work at the University of Nottingham in 2008. She has published widely on child protection in an international context and has written a book on cultural competence in social work. More recently Dr. Laird has produced a book investigating the management of conflict and resistance in child protection practice.

PhD Supervision

Dr. Laird currently supervises a number of home and overseas doctoral students. She is interested in potential PhD applicants with an interest in researching cross-cultural or cross-national issues in welfare policy or health and social care practice, including social work. She is keen to supervise doctoral students who wish to study aspects of the law in relation to cultural diversity, child protection or social care. Dr. Laird is also interested to support Doctoral students researching on conflict and aggression within families and between professionals and family members.

ORCID ID 0000-0002-1918-7585

Expertise Summary

During her work in Ghana Dr. Laird acted as consultant to the Danish Embassy on welfare provision for street children. She continues to research and publish on child welfare and protection in the sub-Saharan region. Dr. Laird was a member of the International Relations Advisory Panel of the British Association of Social Workers and the JUCSWEC International Sub-committee. She has also served as a non-executive director of the World Development Movement. Most recently Dr. Laird conducted a national survey of the views and experiences of children in care for the Office of the Children's Commissioner. She is presently undertaking a number of evaluations of child protection interventions by local authorities in England. Dr. Laird continues to be engaged in research concerning cross-cultural social work and managing conflict in child protection practice.

Research Summary

Dr. Laird's study of serious case reviews reveals the extent to which conflict between social workers and family members can detrimentally affect child protection practice. She continues to conduct… read more

Current Research

Dr. Laird's study of serious case reviews reveals the extent to which conflict between social workers and family members can detrimentally affect child protection practice. She continues to conduct work to identify the salient features of conflict and resistance in the interactions between professionals and parents during child protection interventions and to design conflict management strategies. She also has a research focus on social work in cross-cultural contexts, particularly in relation to child protection. This has included finding out from black and minority ethnic communities how they might best be engaged in user-led projects or as research participants. In addition, Dr. Laird's research examines dominant social constructions of childhood through the ethnocentric assumptions embedded in the approaches of multilateral organizations to child welfare policy in developing countries. Her research interrogates the contradictions created for social work practice in African countries when national child protection laws and policies reflect Anglo-centric norms. Currently Dr. Laird is undertaking a series of evaluations of child protection practices introduced by a number of local authorities in England.

School of Sociology and Social Policy

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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