Ms Penelope Welbourne

Ms Penelope Welbourne

Associate Professor in Social Work

School of Health Professions (Faculty of Health)

Ms Penelope Welbourne can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Social work
  • Social services
  • Childcare
  • Sexual offences by young people


My primary teaching areas are: the law relating to children and families, child care and child protection, and children's rights.

I have research interests in the areas of child protection, research and social care, child and family law and children's rights.


BSc Psychology 2:1 Hull University

MSc Social Work and Social Policy LSE


MA Child and Family Law (Distinction) University of East London

Professional membership

Social Work England

Roles on external bodies

Trustee, Catholic Children's Society



Teaching interests

My teaching interests include: law and chldren's rights, child care and child protectiont.



Research interests

My research interests include children's rights, child protection and the management of risk and information in relation to vulnerable children, and the development of professionalism and other professional issues in social work.




Penelope Welbourne – Publications.


Welbourne, P., Macdonald, P. and Bates, P. (2017) 'Getting it Right in Time: parents who lack litigation capacity in care proceedings', London: Nuffield Foundation

Welbourne, P. (2017) 'Reflections from the Gard case and other recent 'difficult' cases: could the English family courts be less 'anti-therapeutic' and more problem solving?' Seen and Heard 2017 (forthcoming)

Welbourne, P. (2016) 'Parents' and childrens' rights and good practice: section 20' Family Law Journal 2016 

Welbourne, P. (2016) 'Adversarial courts, therapeutic justice and protecting children in the family justice system,' Child and Family Law Quarterly

Welbourne, P. and Dixon, J. (2015) 'Child protection and welfare: cultures, policies and practices,' European Journal of Social Work  

Dixon, J. and Welbourne, P. (2016) 'International Perspectives on the state-as parent: Naive idealism or reluctant pragmatism?' Poverty and Public Policy 2016

Welbourne, P. (2014) "Time is of the essence: risk and the Public Law Outline, judicial discretion and the determination of a child's best interests," Social Sciences 2014

Welbourne, P. and Leeson, C. (2012) “Educational outcomes for children in care: a research review” Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 7 Issue 2 128 - 143 

Welbourne, P. (2011) “Social Work: the idea of a profession and the professional project,” Locus Soci@l 2011 vol. 3 pub. Lisbon, Portugal

Welbourne, P. (2011) "The Family Justice Review Interim Report 2011, Care Planning and the Paramount Interests of Children," Seen and Heard NAGALRO June 2011

Welbourne, P. (2010) "21st century social work: the influence of political context on public service provision in social work education and service delivery" European Journal of Social Work, published online November 2010

Sheppard, M., Welbourne, P. and MacDonald, P. (2010) "The parent concerns questionnaire and parenting stress index: comparison of two common assessment framework-compatible assessment instruments" Child & Family Social Work, 15(3), August 2010, pp.345-356

Welbourne, P. (2008) Safeguarding children on the edge of care: policy for keeping children safe after the ‘Review of the Child Care Proceedings System’, ‘Care Matters’ and the Carter Review of Legal Aid,” Child and Family Law Quarterly, 20(3), 2008, pp.335-358.

Sheppard, M., MacDonald, P. and Welbourne, P. (2008) “Service users as gatekeepers in Children’s Centres,” Child and Family Social Work 2008, 13, pp 61–71

Welbourne, P. and Dixon, J. (2008) "Accountable Corporate Parenting: Local Authority Practice in England and Wales and some reflections on Community Participation in the USA," Journal of Social Work, July 228 Vol. 8 No. 3 291 – 309.

Weiss, I. and Welbourne, P. (2008) "The Professionalization of Social Work: A Cross-National Exploration," International Journal of Social Welfare, accepted for publication September 2007 Vol. 17 Issue 4, 281 – 290.

Welbourne, P., Harrison, G. and Ford, D. (2007) "Social Work in the UK and the Global Labour Market," International Journal of Social Work volume 50 issue 1

Barton, A. and Welbourne, P. (2005) “Context and its Significance in Child Protection Research” Child Abuse Review 2005 vol 14 (3) 177 - 194

Welbourne, P. (2002) "Videotaped Evidence of Children: Application and Implications of the Memorandum of Good Practice", British Journal of Social Work (2002) 32 553 - 571.

Welbourne, P. (2002) "Adoption and the Rights of Children in the UK", International Journal of Children's Rights, 10 269 - 289

Welbourne, P. (2002) "Child Abuse, Culture and Social Work Interventions", Child Abuse Review 11 245 - 358

Welbourne, P. (2000) “Child abuse in the UK: Current developments in conceptualisation and practice,” Journal of International and Comparative Social Welfare 2000(16) 14 - 23


Welbourne, P. and Dixon, J. (eds.) (2013) Child Protection and Child Welfare: A Global Appraisal of Cultures, Policy and Practice, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Welbourne, P. (2012) Social Work with Children and Families: Developing Advanced Practice London: Routledge

Weiss, I. and Welbourne, P. (eds.) (2007) Social Work as a Profession: A Comparative Cross- National Comparison, London: BASW/ Venture Press.

Book Chapters

Welbourne, P. (2018) 'Child protection and theory' in Malcolm Payne (ed.)  "Routledge Handbook on Social Work Theory" (2018) (forthcoming), London: Routledge

Welbourne, P. and Leeson, C. (2013) "The Education of Children in Care: A Research Review" in Sonia Jackson, Ed. "Pathways Through Education for Young People in Care", London: BAAF.

Welbourne, P. (2010) “Accountability,” in The Law for Social Workers, Open University / Palgrave.

Welbourne, P., Harrison, G. and Ford, D. (2006) “The Ethical Dimensions of Social Work Recruitment,” in International Labour Mobility in Social Work, Eds. Lyons, K. and Littlechild, B. Birmingham: Venture Press/ BASW

Welbourne, P. (2002) "Adoption, Attachment and Children’s Rights,” Chapter in Changing Families: Adoption Today (2002) Eds. Philpot, T and Douglas, A., London: Routledge.

Welbourne, P. (2001) "Service user and practice perspectives - Issues for Practice", chapter in "The Law and Social Work: Contemporary Issues for Practice", eds. Cull, L-A and Roche, J. Basingstoke: Palgrave/Open University


Ipsos Mori / P. Welbourne  / R. Cook ( 2014) "The Public Law Outline: An Action Research Study" London: Ministry of Justice, available at: data/file/304477/action-research-to-explore-plo-implementation-and-early-impacts.pdf  

Welbourne, P.  (2008) Interagency working among early career social workers, Final Report to Skills for Care / Children’s Workforce Development Council, University of Plymouth.

 Sheppard, M., Welbourne, P. and McDonald, P. (2006) The Development of a Parenting Model Framework for Children’s Centres, Unpublished final report to National Children’s Homes (South West)

 Welbourne, P. and Lea, S. (2002) Evaluator’s Report for the Youth Justice Board of England and Wales concerning the CARA Project, Plymouth, University of Plymouth.

Conference papers:

"Accountability and Children in Care,"  Keynote speaker: The Future of Corporate Parenting in Wales: Best Practice and Reform Conference, Care Matters Partnership with Children In Wales, Cardiff, Septermber 16th 2010.

"Global Social Work: A Code of Ethics for Social work Recruitment in the UK," IASSW Conference on Global social Work, Santiago, Chile, August 2006.



Reports & invited lectures

Sydney Children's Services Conference 2020 - rebooked for 2021 due to Covid 19