Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Research and Information Mentors

The Research and Information Mentor Strategy is part of the overall approach by the National Research Office for the Agency to build its research capacity, embed a research culture and create the conditions where good research evidence supports practice and new research supports Tusla in building its own knowledge base.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
St Brigid's Hospital,
Kells Rd, Ardee,
Co Louth
041 6860785 087 2240214 marian.durand@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Reflective practice and the development of this within social work and social care fields.
  • How to alleviate stress and the impact of trauma and vicarious trauma for child protection social workers.
  • To support and empower staff and enhance retention, particularly in social work.
  • Mentoring and supporting staff to conduct research relevant to their caseloads/teams.
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I hope to assist staff to explore, identify and undertake practice based research.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Glenbevan House,
Upper Mayorstone,
061 464366 N/A caroline.roe@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Profiling of children in care
  • Development & evaluation of programmes to improve the outcomes of children in care
  • Development of clinical audit tools for social work
  • Development of standardised operating procedures for social work practices
  • Development of standardised reporting templates, data management systems and practice instruments
  • Inter-agency research
  • Consultation on research and audit design with staff group
  • Educational needs & outcomes of children in care
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

With the recent inception of Tusla, a considerable opportunity exists to develop and build a research culture that will hopefully, in time, become inherent and valued within the Agency, not only amongst the management but also amongst frontline staff.

For over 10 years, I have worked to promote and facilitate research, continuous quality improvement and evidence based decision making across Alternative Care, Child Protection & Welfare and Family & Community Support Services in the Mid-West Area. The Research & Information Mentor programme will provide a unique and important structure and focus to develop and build further the research culture within the organisation and for real improvements in service delivery and outcomes for children in care to be realised. In addition, the programme will support the further development of the existing research capacity of multi-disciplinary staff working in the Mid-West Area, facilitate research utilisation and promote a shift towards a more evidence based and informed practice.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
50 Ballygall Parade,
Dublin 11.
01 8140512 087 9120391 caitriona.kearns1@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Children’s rights
  • Children’s rights and the constitution
  • Resilience in young people
  • Aftercare
  • Young people in care and education
  • Young people in care and self harm
  • Family support/early intervention
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

During this time I want to improve my own ability to source relevant and well researched information and disseminate data in an efficient manner and assist and empower others to learn this skill.  I also want to learn more up to date trusted online research sites. 

I also hope to be make use of this position to empower residential care staff to source relevant research and information and adapt this to their current skills to care for the young people in our services.  I hope to empower staff to feel confident at sourcing information to provide evidence based care for the young people we care for.  I am conscious that the majority of our teams have been out of college for a considerable length of time and I hope that going forward this role will help in empowering our staff to re-engage with these skills.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Top Floor, PCU,
St Loman's Campus,
Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
044 9395510 086 8157030 charney.weitzman@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Child protection and welfare issues,
  • policy development,
  • policy implementation,
  • organisational governance,
  • training development and evaluation,
  • evidence informed practice,
  • human resource management,
  • evidence informed decision making.
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I am a strong believer in the importance of evidence informed practice. In my 17 years in post working with many internal and external departments and agencies I have seen the importance of linking decision making to an understanding of the wider context and an awareness of what has come before. I enjoy teasing out and understanding problems and helping to develop solutions. I have been involved in research, education and training and find satisfaction in being able to share learning with others.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Tusla Offices, Cemetery Cross,
  086 0268120 marie.gibbons@tusla.ie
Research Interests  

Broad interest in social research generally. More specific research interests include: Qualitative and Participatory research methodologies; Practitioner Research; Interagency working practices; Social Care, Child Protection and Family Support; Early Years; Child and parental participation in decision making and policy development.

 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

My background is in Social Care and I worked as a Social Care Leader in a Social Work team in Galway until 2015. Currently I am working as a Researcher for Tusla, attached to Galway and Roscommon CYPSCs and have completed several evaluation reports and research studies in my current role. I have a Masters in Family Support Studies from NUIGalway and am also a PhD student in NUIG.

I hope that my experience as a practitioner and also as a researcher will be useful in this role.

I have a range of research skills and I hope I will be an accessible and helpful resource to my Tusla colleagues in Galway and Roscommon. Specifically I would like to be a source of support and advice to Tusla staff who are hoping to develop, plan and conduct their own research activities. 

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Child Wellbeing Centre, Bree,
Co Monaghan.
042 9795623 087 6447243 noelle.keaney@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Attachment
  • Trauma
  • Psychology
  • Child behaviour
  • Parenting
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

As a research and information mentor for Tusla I hope to encourage the teams I work with to ask research based questions in order to inform their practice. I would like to think that I will play a part in helping develop a culture of research based practice across the counties of Cavan and Monaghan, leading staff to become more informed and reflective within their own practice. I would see myself being responsible for helping with the dissemination of information within Tusla, including supporting staff to access the range of free resources that are currently available to all Tusla staff.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
St Vincent's Health Centre
Station Road, Tipperary Town
Co Tipperary.
  087 2120465 stuart.moloney@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Children Missing Education
  • Alternative Educational possibilities for students
  • Educational Provision and Residential Care
  • Alternatives to Home Tuition

On a personal level, I have a keen interest in research on training in individual and team sports, specifically on the mental components relating to each. 

 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

Research is an area I believe Tusla is fully committed to.  From a practice perspective, there is a deficit in current research undertaken and how that is made relevant and applicable for practitioners within Tusla.  As Tusla starts to embrace a culture of research and seeks to embed this culture into the organisation, I feel it is an exciting time to be at the forefront of research in the agency.  Research can influence practice, and acting as a research mentor is an opportunity to be at the cutting edge of practice development.   

It is my aim as a research mentor to assist and inspire individuals and groups within the organisation to undertake research.  Research activity should be at the forefront of the organisation in order to develop more coherent and applicable recommendations that can be ‘brought to life’ by daily practitioners within the organisation.  It is my core aim to support individuals in this area, and also to embed a culture of research in the organisation. 

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Ground Floor, Brunel Building,
Heuston South Quarter,
Dublin 1
01 7718817 086 0404205 michelle.reade1@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Risk factors in offending behaviour
  • Lone parents and early school leaving
  • Gender roles in education                                                                       -
  • Transition points in education
  • Special needs in education
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

In my role as mentor it is my overall goal to support and empower colleagues  to  be  curious  and explore areas of  research interest.

I hope to  have a comprehensive understanding of a range of research methodologies in order to enable colleagues to develop their own research questions. I also hope be more equipped in order to assist colleagues with the necessary skills and knowledge to engage in critical thinking and analysis.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
2nd Floor, Nexus Building,
Blanchardstown Corporate Park,
Ballycoolin, Dublin 15.
01 8976841 086 7810683 jan.davis@tusla.ie
Research Interests  

I am interested in all aspects of research especially as it relates to working with children and their families. I am really interested in the rights and hearing the voice of the child in all aspects of our work. I am really delighted that more so than ever this is actually happening in 2018 especially with the “ Signs of Safety “ approach to working with the children and the families.

For years, I have held a strong interest in the health and wellbeing of the children and their families. Having worked in child protection field for many years, I feel it is so important that practice and how we function as practitioners must reflect best practice. Having recently gained my LLB (Irish) Law), I am really interested in how the courts are embracing the rights of children and their families.

Another part of me is very interested in supporting staff in their roles. I feel it is so important. Education and research is the way forward. Having trained in the area of management/ leadership/coaching I really enjoy supporting staff in their roles. It will be great to be able to compile various documents for example pertaining to “team working”, as I have done this month.   

 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

The key aspect of my role as a Research & Information Mentor is to support staff in their roles and to promote the importance of the “Tusla: Child and Family Agency: Research Strategy (2014). I have already began the journey and I can see the benefit of having the time to really focus and use my research skills which I feel have not really been used fully. I know that I can and do promote training but I now need to promote the importance of research.

Over the years, I had really not considered how much work I was putting into research and the development of courses. It will be good to be able to document this, now. I actually put a lot of work into getting the best research and even contacting the person who created the work.  I will always try to help staff to the best of my ability. It is great to have the backing of Marian, Angela, Bernard and indeed Danny who saw I love research and finding new information.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Tusla Child & Family Agency, 102 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin   087 1960733 lorna.kerin@tusla.ie
Research Interests  

Qualitative Research; Participatory Action Research;  Lived Experience of Children, Young People & Parents; Evidence informed Prevention & Early Intervention Programmes; Perinatal, Child & Youth Mental Health; Area based Interagency Collaborations; Public Patient Initiatives; 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (rare genetic disorder)

 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

Overall I hope to support Tusla to become a ‘research active’ organisation to support evidence informed work in the Child and Family Agency.

Specifically I will offer ‘Research Ignite!’ workshops from May –July 2018 in the Dublin South, South East and Wicklow Area with the aim of supporting Tusla colleagues to access the wealth of research resources now freely available to staff via the Tusla online hub including research databases, journal search engines and the Barnardos Library.

In keeping with an ‘action research’ orientation, I will invite Tusla staff at these workshops to identify what research skills, supports and topics may be of value to their work, and future ‘Research Ignite!’ events will seek to address these.

I also hope that it may be possible to create a ‘Research Learning Community’ in Dublin South, South East & Wicklow where research active staff can share their research questions, methodologies and findings with Tusla and interagency colleagues to encourage reflective professional practise and to inform local and national policy.

This knowledge exchange community may include linking with the research departments of academic, statutory, community and voluntary agencies in the region whose research can inform or benefit from future collaboration with Tusla staff and service users.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Carnegie Centre, 21-25 Lord Edward Street, Dublin 2 01 6486555 087 0573048 anna.deneher@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Outcomes for children in care,
  • Young people’s experiences of the care system
  • Adoption of children in care
  • Childhood trauma and impact on mental health
  • Supports for young people in aftercare with complex needs
  • Ethnicity and children in care
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I would like to share the skills and experience which I have developed in my studies in the areas of social work research, to enable colleagues to develop an interest in research and to create a culture of research empowerment within the organisation. I hope to develop practitioners’ confidence in using the various research tools and resources available to them in Tusla in informing their practice and in evidencing their decision-making.

I am interested in promoting good quality research and sharing research knowledge and information with colleagues. I would like to champion research within the Agency and promote a culture of research and of evidence-informed decision-making. 

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
34 Queen Street, Clonmel 052 6170931 087 2450953 michael.callan@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  1. Decision making in Child Protection Case Conferences.
  2. Parents Participation at CPCs
  3. Engagement with reluctant parents .
  4. Local outcomes for children post CPC
  5. Working with Neglect Cases.
  6. Working with  difficult to engage older children  and teenagers.
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I see my primary role as being a resource and a support to SW staff , Social Care Staff and Family Support Practitioners who are interested, have the drive , enthusiasm and time to undertake  research projects that have a usefulness and applicability to their local team and their own professional development .

My aspiration is that in my current role, that I can support colleagues to develop the develop skill and confidence in this applied research that is relevant to their role and the team they are part off.

I would like to think that I am approachable and generally accessible .My plan is when I have got sign off from Area Manager, is to  advise colleagues of my contact time by telephone or by having a  meeting, for colleagues who are contemplating conducting a piece of research. If you are still  thinking about a project or have an idea for research , I am more than happy to be used by you  as a ‘sounding board’ .

I have listed a few areas that I have a personal interest in above , but I don’t want  the list to influence in anyway the topics that colleagues might be interested in and want to carry out research  

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 

Clonree, Green Road, The Curragh Co. Kildare

045-441810 Karen.condron@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • The experience of young people in and leaving the care system.
  • Addiction
  • Attachment and trauma
  • Paternal mental health and impact on children
  • Outcomes of Young people leaving care
  • Behaviour management
  • Resilience in young people
  • Youth mental health
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I have worked in Children residential services for the past 13 years. 

I hope to develop my own learning and professional development. Through the research and information mentor role I hope to assist and empower staff to move towards a research minded approach to their work. To help facilitate staff to enhance their own work practice through best practice, research and evidence based practice.

I hope that my role will help to further build the research culture within the organisation and help improve service delivery and outcomes for the families and children that we work with.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Tusla Drumalee, Cavan    0863801476  Anna.sheerin@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Access
  • Children in Care
  • Effectiveness of therapeutic service for children and families
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

Help promote the use of evidence based practice and being creative in finding solutions that are actually effective.

Help promote the need for Irish social work research.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
EWS, Cemetery Cross, Bohermore/Tusla Government Buildings, Convent Rd, Roscommon    0876075166  berni.smyth1@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • All aspects of child protection and welfare;
  • Family support;
  • Refugees and asylum seekers, unaccompanied asylum seeking young people
  • Resilience
  • Social support
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I would like to help make the Tusla Research Centre accessible and useful to colleagues and to support the multiple ways research  can  benefit child and family work across the agency.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Jfk house, Jfk parade, Sligo 071/9135045  0872509814 Conor.mcmahon@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Children in care – outcomes for this group.
  • Aftercare
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

What I would hope to achieve as a research and information mentor is to encourage and promote research and evidence informed/based practice for TUSLA staff in the north west and to act as a point of contact for staff who are interested in pursuing research activity.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Tusla Area Managers Office,
HSE Buildings,
Ballycummin Avenue
Raheen Business Estate,
061-483453  0873581221 David.studer@tusla.ie
Research Interests  
  • Collation and analysis of socio-demographic data
  • Implementation science
  • Homelessness
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:
  • To assist in creating a research ethos across Tusla
  • To assist in developing capacity of Tusla staff, allowing them to be more confident collating, analysing and disseminating data.
  • To facilitate the sharing of research undertaken by CYPSC and other organisations both locally and regionally
Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Social Work Team for Separated Children
Sir Patrick Dun`s, Lower Grand Canal
Street Dublin 2


 087 9192651godfrey.mushongera@tusla.ie
Research Interests  

My main research interests revolve around separated children/unaccompanied minors with a focus on;

  • Models of social work practice with separated children
  • Experiences of separated children`s key transitions.
  • Integration, resilience and social network analysis.
  • Age assessments and social work practice with separated children.
  • Best Interest Assessments (BIA)
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I hope my involvement in this programme will help in my professional colleagues and myself in accessing relevant research databases in order to draw on and use the best available evidence to improve our social work practises. It is my fervent hope that this will also lead to collaboration among practitioners in undertaking research in our areas of practice.

In my own area of practice, albeit in my small way, this involvement will enable me and hopefully my colleagues to use the best available evidence to improve outcomes for our service-users 

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Castle Building,
Co. Offaly
057 9370700 087 1854977


Research Interests  
  • Policy development & implementation
  • Education policy
  • Child development
  • Citizenship education
  • Interagency working
  • Early intervention
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I would like to play my part in developing a research oriented culture in Tusla. This would include supporting people in my area who wish to use evidence based and evidence informed practice to improve their work, encouraging people to share their experience and ideas of relevant recent research, and championing and promoting the value of research increasingly being  a central part of workplace culture in the agency.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Social Work Department, Bridge House,
Cherry Orchard Hospital, Ballyfermot,
Dublin 10
0766955359 0860484033


Research Interests  
  • Developmental Trauma
  • Attachment
  • Contact and Access
  • Children’s rights and participation in decision making
  • Identity
  • Mental Health
  • Parenting Capacity
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

In this role, I hope to support interested colleagues to develop their skills and confidence in how to source quality research and to promote the use of research in practice and assessments.

I would like to assist and support staff to develop their ideas for research projects or pieces of work for assessments or care planning. I can also assist in developing research questions; search strategies and skills development for database searching.

I hope to provide clear information about the work of the National Research Office and provide guidance to staff around the Tusla Research Ethics processes and share information on the resources available to all staff within the Tusla Research Centre and Barnardos library and information services.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Adoption Department, Glenbevan House,
Upper Mayorstone, Limerick.
061464154 0868187462


Research Interests  
  • Children’s rights including the ‘voice of the child’ in social work and social care fields,
  • The area of adoption particularly adoption from foster care,
  • Having a law degree I am also very interested in legislation and the impact of new legislative on social work practice,
  • Evidence informed decision- making. 
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

I hope to assist colleagues and tusla staff to explore, identify and undertake evidence based practice and research.

I hope to mentor and support social work colleagues and staff in tusla to conduct research relevant to their practice with the aim of evidence informed decision- making.

I hope to support and empower social workers and tusla staff to base assessments and report writing on evidenced based research.

I am presently completing a PhD in Social Work and have developed a range of research skills which I hope will be a useful resource to my colleagues in the Mid-West.  I would also like to be a support to Tusla staff who would like to develop and conduct their own research activities.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
National Adoption Service, St Bridget’s Centre,
Roches Road, Wexford, Y35Y4EP
053 9174463 087 6591067


Research Interests  

Permanency Planning for children in Care, Crisis Intervention with Families,  Outcomes in Adoption through the Lifecycle, Effects of Trauma through neglect and abuse, Post Placement Support to families and children and the outcomes of social work support, Child Development, Social Work Skills Development and Implementation of Research in to Practice, Learning Styles and the Imparting of Knowledge in Different Training Methods

 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

From my experience of having being involved in research directly related to my work in adoption ( in which I was supported by the Agency, HSE pre Tusla), I gained extensive expertise and knowledge which I was able to share with my colleagues in the service and within the Agency as a whole. The findings from the research projects have been incorporated in to everyday practice and policies and this has been of benefit to children and adults availing of our service.

What I would like to achieve in this role as Mentor is to assist and offer a number of different ways in which colleagues can have as easy as possible access to up to date research, and to find ways in which embedding new and interesting ideas which are emerging from research can be become part of practice and policies. In addition I would like to be able  to encourage on site research by teams and academic research in order to further knowledge and interest in practice.

Workplace Address Phone  Mobile  E-mail 
Child and Family Agency, Ground Floor,
Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8
01 7718551 086 0471059


Research Interests  

I have a specific interest in the following areas of research:

  • Factors impacting on the participation, engagement and retention of children and young people in education
  • The experiences of children and families of statutory service providers, namely the Irish education system and Tusla, Child and Family Agency
  • Informal care giving within and between families
  • The Impact of drug and/alcohol use on the family
  • Drug related intimidation
  • The research, policy, practice interface
 What do I hope to achieve as a Research & Information Mentor:

As a peer research and information mentor I hope to:

  • Provide helpful information to practitioners and/or teams undertaking research within Tusla
  • Signpost colleagues to relevant individuals, departments, committees and/or resources that can support their research
  • Strengthen my own and others capacity to access, analyse and disseminate relevant research
  • Support the research department to increase the value of research within the agency 
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