Children and Families

Group Leader: Dr Sarah Bekaert

Contact: sbekaert@brookes.ac.uk

About us

The focus of the work of the Children and Families Research Group is around children, young people and family wellbeing. Our research around children covers the prenatal period, up to age 18 years. It includes research on safeguarding, child protection, child health, looked-after children, and the role of the family unit including parenting, school, and community influences on child and family wellbeing.

We are interested in research that makes a difference to the lives of children and families and improves health and wellbeing outcomes. Our family-focused research covers additional topics such as domestic violence and abuse, family community services and the development of resilience.

Our work takes place in family homes, hospitals, schools and with the wider community including health, social care and third sector services. Regular meetings of the Children and Families Research Group bring together researchers, students, academics and practitioners who have an interest in children, young people and family wellbeing and who wish to develop research and influence policy and practice in this area. Our research has been funded by a range of organisations. The OxCAF_research Group works closely with the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University.  
 

Girl talking to a social worker

Leadership

Sarah Bekaert

Dr Sarah Bekaert

Senior Lecturer

View profile

Membership

Staff

Name Role Email
Dr Haggi Michael Haggi Ansera Research Fellow hansera@brookes.ac.uk
Katy Burch Assistant Director kburch@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Jane Carpenter Programme Lead, Midwifery and Lead Midwife for Education jane.carpenter@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Georgia Cook Postdoctoral Research Assistant and Associate Lecturer gcook@brookes.ac.uk
Mr Lindsey Coombes Associate Lecturer elcoombes@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Clive Diaz Senior Lecturer in Social Work cdiaz@brookes.ac.uk
Professor David Foxcroft Professor of Community Psychology and Public Health david.foxcroft@brookes.ac.uk
Mr Jon Hyslop Senior Lecturer in Social Work jhyslop@brookes.ac.uk
Professor Mary Malone Researcher mmalone@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Kathy Mumby-Croft Lecturer in Adult Nursing kmumby-croft@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Louise Taylor Principal Lecturer Student Experience (PLSE) louise.e.taylor@brookes.ac.uk
Dr Farzaneh Yazdani Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy fyazdani@brookes.ac.uk

Students

Name Thesis Title Supervisors Completed
Helen Bosley Maternal Attitudes to Antibiotic Use: A Community Based Case Study Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Sharon Brownie Nursing and Health Service Leadership: The Power to Influence Professor Debra Jackson, Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Georgia Cook Parental influences on children’s sleep Dr Luci Wiggs 2019
Samantha Jane Donohue What is the experince of professional enjoyment in nursing? Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Monica Duman How are chronologies and neglect assessment tools used by health and social care practitioners to identify and assess child neglect? Dr Alison Cocks, Professor Jane Appleton, Dr Sarah Bekaert

Active

Briony Enser Alcohol Driven Harm to Others Professor David Foxcroft 2018
Kimberley Harcourt Weight loss and weight loss maintenance using exercise, nutrition and behaviour change strategies among an overweight/obese, pre-diabetic adult population 2019
Lauren Harding How do school nurses identify and work with school-aged children at risk of child abuse and neglect? Professor Jane Appleton 2020
Jon Hyslop How Do Peer Networks Enable Service Users and Informal Careers to Obtain and Manage Personal Budgets Professor Jane Appleton 2019
Josie Jacobs Developing a Wellbeing intervention to promote positive coping and Resilience in parents of Primary School children Dr Emma Davies, Dr Louise Taylor

Active

Elizabeth Jestico What are parents’ experiences of being supported by significant others, when faced with making decisions about their child’s cancer case? A phenomenological study Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Karen Lascelles Experiences and Support Needs of Adult Carers of Adults at Risk of Suicide: A Mixed Methods Doctoral Research Study Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Claire Litchfield Is the use of water immersion for women in labour or giving birth both safe and effective as a method for improving rates of normal birth for women who are obese? Dr Jane Carpenter, Dr Louise Hunter, Professor Mary Malone

Active

Catherine Lowenhoff Moving on from ‘Listening Visits’: a mixed methods, multi-phase study exploring the support that health visitors provide to mothers with mental health problems Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Mark Mason The illegal drug use behaviours and social circumstances of older adult regular Class A drug users Professor Jane Appleton 2015
Elaine Strachan-Hall Robots in Nursing: False Rhetoric or Future Reality? Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Fiona Tierney Families’ experience of using sleep-related routines with their young children Professor Anna Barnett, Dr Georgia Cook, Dr Luci Wiggs

Active

Suzanne Watts An exploration of the referral and communication systems between primary health care professionals and children's social care services Professor Jane Appleton

Active

Diana Yardley An exploration of health care professionals’ perceptions of non-medical factors affecting management of Type 1 diabetes in children Professor Jane Appleton, Dr Olga Kozlowska

Active

Projects

Active projects

Project title and description Investigator(s) Funder(s) Dates

ERICA

Stopping Child Maltreatment through Pan-European Multiprofessional Training Programme: Early Child Protection Work with Families at Risk.
Professor Jane Appleton, Eija Paavilainen, Alex Baldacchino European Commission From: December 2019
Until: December 2021

A synthesis of the evidence for effective parenting support

Professor Jane Appleton, Dr Haggi Michael Haggi Ansera, Professor Mary Malone, Dr Kathy Mumby-Croft, Dr Helen Aveyard Public Health England From: March 2021
Until: January 2022

Evaluating the Navigator Project

Trauma informed support for young people attending the ED as a result of violence.
Dr Sarah Bekaert Brookes Research Excellence Award From: August 2021
Until: March 2022

Think Baby - Take 2

Professor Jane Appleton Brookes Research Excellence Award From: April 2022
Until: September 2022

Using data and technology to support survivors of domestic violence

Professor Jane Appleton, Professor Caroline Bradbury-Jones, Dr Joht Singh Chandan NIHR From: June 2021
Until: August 2022

Protecting children and young people vulnerable to harm and abuse

Learning from School of Nursing practices and new ways of working in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Jane Appleton, Dr Sarah Bekaert GNCT From: September 2021
Until: August 2022

Mitigating the harms of maternal related Adverse Child Experiences

This project looks at which health visiting models in England are most promising for mitigating the harms of maternal related Adverse Child Experiences.

Professor Jane Appleton, Dr Jenny Woodman, Dr Katie Harron, Professor Ruth Gilbert NIHR From: February 2022
Until: January 2026

Think Baby - online course for trainee health visitors

Think Baby is an online course to develop trainee health visitors' observational skills by asking them to think about the way in which they perceive and assess mother-infant interactions. Reflective self-assessment activities, based on short videos showing examples of mother-baby interaction, allow student health visitors an immersive learning experience.

Mother and baby interaction

Seminars and events

The Children and Families Research Group host a seminar series in Semester 1 of each academic year. We are grateful to all of our speakers and to the many staff, students and professionals who enthusiastically support these events. 

Our first seminar in Semester 1 2021/22:

Virtual seminar

How has a think family approach been put into practice when responding to vulnerable children: a scoping review and illustrative qualitative study? 

If you would like to attend, please contact Professor Jane Appleton or Dr Sarah Bekaert.

Publications

  • Appleton J.V. (2021) Editorial: Vulnerable Children and Early Intervention: What about Health Visiting? Child Abuse Review. 30 (2): 89-97. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/car.2686
  • Bekaert, S & Appleton JV. (2021) Ch 60 Intimate Partner Violence in Teen Relationships, in The Sage Handbook of Domestic Violence. Edited by Shackelford T.K,
  • Whittaker K, Appleton J.V., Peckover, S. and Adams C. (2021) Organising health visiting services in the UK: Frontline perspectives. Journal of Health Visiting 9 (2): https://doi.org/10.12968/johv.2021.9.2.68
  • Bosley H, Appleton JV, Henshall C, Jackson D. (2020). The influence of perceived accessibility and expertise of healthcare professionals, and service austerity, on mothers' decision-making. Health Soc Care Community. 29 (2): 526-534. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13115
  • Cook G, Appleton J.V. and Wiggs L. (2020) 'Parentally reported barriers to seeking help and advice for child sleep from healthcare professionals' Child: Care, Health and Development. ISSN: 0305-1862 eISSN: 1365-2214.
  • Harding L, Bekeart S. and Appleton J.V. (2020) Exploring the challenges of using electronic health record systems in nursing research. Nurse Researcher. 9 April. doi: 10.7748/nr.2020.e1695.
  • Harding L, Davison-Fischer J, Bekeart S. and Appleton J.V. (2019) The role of the school nurse in protecting children and young people from maltreatment: An integrative review of the literature. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 92: 60-72.
  • Bekaert, S and Bradly, J. 2019. The Increasingly Leaky Stigma of the ‘Pregnant Teen’: When Does ‘Young Motherhood’ Cease to be Problematic? Studies in the Maternal, 11(1): 8, pp. 1–8. DOI: https:// doi.org/10.16995/sim.267 https://www.mamsie.bbk.ac.uk/articles/10.16995/sim.267/
  • Appleton J., Powell C. & Coombes L. (2016) Children's missed healthcare appointments: professional and organisational responses. Arch Dis Child. 0:1–5. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2015-309621