Caroline Cresswell

Dr Caroline Cresswell
Research Associate (Children's Social Care Innovation Programme)

Visit Caroline Cresswell's profile on the York Research Database to see publications, projects, collaborators, related work and more.

Caroline has broad research interests in social policy, applied social work practice and local services as relevant to children, young people and their families. Caroline's research focuses primarily on policy, services and professional practice relating to supporting young people's transitions, the impact of trauma and family disruption upon the process of transition, and toward understanding the journeys of care-experienced young people. Caroline's PhD study focused upon the transitional experiences of foster care-experienced youth in cities in England and within Melbourne, Australia. She was supported by an Australian government fellowship for her research in Australia. Caroline has applied experience in developing research methods that enable the participation and storytelling of children and young people through sensory and arts-based visual methods. She is currently part of an advisory group for a national project focussing on the experiences of care-experienced young people who have transitioned into youth justice settings. 

Caroline has taught across Social Policy, Social Work and Sociology undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the Universities of Birmingham, Melbourne and Bath. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Caroline joined SPRU in 2018 to work across DfE-funded evaluations of service innovations aimed at supporting care leavers, children and young people on the 'edge of care', or those placed within specialist residential homes and foster families. The evaluations assess the potential of multi-agency partnerships and therapeutically-informed practice, the barriers and facilitators associated with service innovation according to workforce, and the associated impact of new approaches on the experiences and outcomes of children and young people. 

Caroline is a member of the Child Welfare Research Group, in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, at the University of York.


PhD (Social Policy), University of Birmingham

MA (Social Research), University of Birmingham

BA (Hons) (Social Policy), University of Birmingham

Current / recently completed research

Bradford B Positive Pathways Evaluation

March 2017 - March 2020

An evaluation of the B Positive Pathways project, which aims to provide innovative support to young people in and on the edges of care and their carers via fostering hubs and a multi-agency residential hub.

Break - Staying Close, Staying Connected Project

May 2018 - March 2020

An evaluation of a pilot project to test 'staying close' approaches for young people leaving residential care in England. 

The House Project 2

April 2018 - April 2020

A two-year evaluation across five Local Authorities, looking at how young people are supported in their transition to independence from care.

External roles

  • Reviewer - Child & Family Social Work; The Journal of Social Policy; Sociological Research Online; Journal of Social Work; SAGE Open.