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Professor Christine Skinner

BA, DPhil (York)

  • Emerita Professor 


Visit Professor Christine Skinner's profile on the York Research Database to see a full list of publications and browse her research related activities.


Areas of expertise

  • International and comparative child support (maintenance) policy
  • UK family policy
  • The practice of family law professionals
  • Non-resident fathers 
  • Childcare, Early-Education and 'Foundation Years' policy

Academic biography

Professor Christine Skinner has over 16 years’ experience as a social policy academic. She has a national and international reputation as a research expert in child support policy and has directly advised Governments in the UK and Korea and policy makers in Australia and Poland. Child support policy (or child maintenance policy) is concerned with the financial obligations of parents in separated families to support their children. She has explored child maintenance obligations using mixed methods involving both quantitative and qualitative techniques and she was a key member of the team that produced the path-breaking national survey of separated fathers in 1999. 

Christine has led, advised and directed influential research studies at national, and international levels and is highly regarded in her field attracting commissions from a number of prestigious organisations including; the Economic Social Research Council, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The Nuffield Foundation, and Gingerbread. On many occasions she has acted as an expert policy advisor on government funded research projects and advised the Government's Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into child support policy and the Coalition Government's 'Family Support Services Expert Steering Group'.

Leading the way in international collaborations and comparative research, Christine has delivered six international research seminars between 2014-2016 funded by the ESRC 'Child Maintenance: International Perspectives And Policy Challenges' (ESRC Award Ref: ES/L000792/1). She has published widely on comparisons of child support schemes across countries.

Professional activities

  • Fellow of The Higher Education Academy (2007-current)
  •  Policy advisor to the Child Maintenance Group in the DWP and to the National Audit Office gathering information for their inquiry on child maintenance policy under the latest 2012 Act (2014). 
  •  Policy advisor to the Korean Government at their 2014 ‘Gender and Legislation Forum’. which debated the new ‘Commemorating the Enactment of the Child Support Enforcement Act in the Republic of Korea’. National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, Seoul.
  • 2011– 2012, Social policy expert advisor to the Department for Work and Pensions 'Family Support Services Expert Steering Group', reporting directly to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Disabled People Maria Millar (whose parliamentary brief included Child Support Policy). Involved in the development of the first ever quality mark for providers delivering relationship support services for separated families in the UK. Relate was the first organisation to be awarded the mark in  August 2013.
  • November 2011- January 2012, Social policy expert advisor to the Department for Work and Pensions 'Telephony Sub-Group' of the Family Support Services Steering Group.
  • November 2011- March 2012, Social policy expert advisor to the Department for Work and Pensions 'Proposition Testing Group'. The work of the group fed into the development of a new Innovation Fund worth £14m to provide help and support for separated families across Great Britain launched in July 2012.
  • November 2011 - December 2012, Lead Editor for the European Journal of Social Security's 'Special Issue: Child Maintenance Schemes In Five Countries', Vol. 14, No. 4, 2012.
  • January 2011- March 2012, Member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council 'Post Parental Separation AHRC Research Network'.
  • June 2010 – Social Policy academic representative participating in the Vice Chancellor Brian Cantor's 'Joint Research Seminar' with the University of Washington-Seattle as part of the WUN partnership.
  • March 2008, Joint convener of the international and multidisciplinary conference entitled 'Child Maintenance: Persistent problems, finding solutions'. It was funded jointly by the British Council under the 'NWO Partnership Programme in Science' and by the Dutch Scientific Organisation.
  • March 2008- August 2009: Book co-editor ‘Persistent Problems, Finding Solutions: Child Maintenance in The Netherlands and the UK’. Nijmegen: Wolf, 2009.
  • January - March 2007, Social policy expert advisor to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee on their inquiry into child support reforms: 'HC 219, Child Support Reform, Fourth Report of Session 2006-07'.
  • 2006 – 2008, Research Consultant on the National Centre for Social Research Consortium 'Child Support and Relationship Breakdown Survey', funded by the Department of Work and Pensions.


Recent projects

  • January 2015 - January 2016, Poverty among non-resident fathers in the UK.
  • 2016 - ESRC Impact Acceleration Account Co-Production Award - Pathways to employment for young people in care: improving opportunities and raising aspirations through the York Cares Bright Futures Programme.
  • January 2015 - October 2015, Understanding a new model of professional practice that empowers separated parents to make agreements. ESRC IAA award.
  • January 2014-2016, Principle Investigator (PI) leading the ESRC international series of 6 seminars 'Child Maintenance: International Perspectives And Policy Challenges' (ESRC Award Ref: ES/L000792/1).
  • January 2011-November 2012, Steering Group for a new national survey 'Free to choose – child maintenance for single parents on benefit'. This survey was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and Gingerbread and was delivered collaboratively by NAtCen and Bryson Purdon Social Research.
  • November 2011-December 2012, PI - Comparative analysis of child support schemes in 5 countries - Skinner, C., Hakovirta, M. and Davidson J. 'A Comparative Analysis of Child Maintenance Schemes in Five Countries' in 'Special Issue: Child Maintenance Schemes In Five Countries', European Journal of Social Security, Vol. 14, No. 4, 2012, 330-348.
  • 2011, PI - Secondary Analysis of Families and Children Survey – funded by Gingerbread. Skinner C. And Main G. 'The Contribution of Child Maintenance Payments to The Income Packages of Lone Mothers' in Journal of Poverty and Social Exclusion, Vol. 21, No 1. 2013, 47-60.
  • March 2009-December 2010, Research Consultant to the Government's Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission's in-depth study 'Promotion of Child Maintenance: Instigating Behavioural Change'.
  • December 2009-March 2010, Research Consultant to the Department of Work and Pensions, (2010) National Baseline Study of Child Maintenance.
  • March-October 2009, PI - Evaluation of the York 2-year-old Pathfinder Initiative: Phase One Pilot Project for 2008-09, Grant part of DCSF Pathfinder Project, held by York City Council Early Years and Extended School Services.

PhD supervision

I have supervised many PhD's covering a broad range of topics mostly related to family policy and to aspects of social and family change at both national and international levels.

  • Sun Nam Kim: Divorce in contemporary Korea: Individualisation, Intimacy and Gender. Registered Centre for Women's Studies, joint supervisor with Professor Stevi Jackson. PhD awarded 2008.
  • Lesley Booth MBE: Widening participation: experiences of returning to learning in HE. Viva summer 2016.
  • Julia Carter: Why Marry? Young women talk about relationships and love. Registered Centre for Women's Studies, joint supervisor with Professor Stevi Jackson. PhD awarded 2011. Julia is currently Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University; see some of her work
  • Rachel Thwaites: 'British women’s last name changes on marriage and divorce'. Registered Centre for Women's Studies, joint supervisor with Professor Stevi Jackson PhD awarded 2013. Rachel is currently Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University.
  • Nurhadi Nurhadi: Child Labour in Indonesia, PhD awarded 2015. Nurhadi is currently Vice-Head of masters programmes in Social Development in the Faculty of Social and Political Science, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.
  • Miyang Jun: Lone parents' transition to work and the impact on family wellbeing. PhD awarded July 2016. She is currently employed as a Researcher in Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea.
  • Mina Lee: Coordinating childcare and work-life balance in Korea. Awaiting Viva November 2016.
  • Yi Zhang: Work-life balance in China, Registered Centre for Women's Studies, joint supervisor with Professor Stevi Jackson.
  • Claire Casha: Interventions with couples facing child maintenance difficulties in Malta: An action research project. Started 2016 part-time.
  • Fei Fang: The one-child policy's lost children: China's responsibility to compensate bereaved parents. Started 2016.
  • Emma Gedies: Adoption. ERSC 1+3 studentship, started October 2016.

Supervision interests

Family policy; national and international child maintenance (child support) policies; non-resident fathers; separated families; lone mothers; symbolic meanings of money; child wellbeing; childcare, early-education and 'foundation years' policy; marriage, cohabitation relationship formation and dissolution; parenting and work-life balance. 







Contact details

Professor Christine Skinner
Emeritus Professor
School for Business and Society