Throughout my clinical training, I maintained a healthy interest in practitioner-research. Over the last eight years, I have presented papers and seminars on eating disorders and female athletes, depression and anxiety, and working with children and families in Out of Home Care.
Without a doubt, the most challenging research project I have undertaken to date is my PhD project. My study is focussed on how expert evidence promotes the child’s voice and facilitates child participation in care and adoption proceedings in New South Wales, Australia. I am privileged to be supervised by Professor Rita Shackel (Sydney Law School), Professor Judith Cashmore (Sydney Law School), and Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright (Education and Social Work, Director of Children and Families Research Centre) at the University of Sydney.
My clinical psychology colleagues were initially perplexed at my leap from the psychology faculty to the law faculty. I've always maintained an interest in the way law, psychology, and social science intersect. Having worked several years in child protection and hours of quiet observations at family, children, and criminal court proceedings, I noticed child participatory rights were not consistently met. I had also established that if I wanted my research to make an impact at a policy level, then my research needed to address socio-legal factors that influence outcomes for children. Guided by a therapeutic jurisprudential framework, my research seeks to provide empirical evidence to better facilitate best practice, particularly in the area of child participation and outcomes that are in the best interests of children. My research and career goals are to promote child participation and children’s rights within social justice frameworks. I am intensely passionate about advocating for child’s rights and law reform.