Harriet holds a PhD in Social Policy and Sociology from Oxford Brookes University and has worked in the Department of Sociological Studies since 2008. Harriet is a social policy analyst and social researcher with a background in childhood and family studies, critical social policy, comparative family policy, qualitative research and programme evaluation.
As a founding member of the European Family Support Network and Co-I of EurofamNet (a European COST action project), Harriet is a co-lead for Working Group 2 which is in the final year of completing a collaborative programme of scoping studies and knowledge exchange activities about ‘Children’s rights, gender equality and family welfare reforms and agendas in family and parenting support services in Europe’. This project built on longer-standing interests in British welfare state reforms, family policies and children’s services reforms. In these areas, Harriet has contributed to debates about social rights for children, young people and parents in the UK context, and evidence-based social policy and social services reforms. Harriet has undertaken programme evaluation studies related to Sure Start Children’s Centres, Intensive Family Support Services and Parenting Education Programmes.
Harriet has recently received a grant award from the Nuffield Foundation to undertake an innovative study entitled ‘Virtual parent support portals: Towards new research and practice agendas (Oct 2023-December 2025). Working in collaboration with Action for Children (England), this study combines literature review, social survey and qualitative research methods to appraise and develop the evidence-base for online and digitally-mediated child-related information and support for parents provided via websites, apps or social media sites.
Harriet is the Special Issues Editor for the journal Families, Relationships and Societies and is a member of the UK Social Policy Association. Departmental staff webpage: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/socstudies/people/academic-staff/harriet-churchill
Selected recent publications
- Churchill, H and Dunn, H. (In Press 2023). ‘Parental participation and community family support: Family Support Hubs in Northern Ireland and Family Hubs in England’. in C Devaney and R Crosse (Eds) International Perspectives on Parenting Support and Parental Participation in Children and Family Services, Bristol: Policy Press.
- Churchill, H. (In Press 2024). ‘Troubling social policy during turbulent times: Children and UK Conservative Governments since 2015’. In H Bochel and G Daly (Eds) Conservative Governments and Social Policy, 2nd Edition. Bristol: Policy Press.
- Richardson-Foster, H., Stanley, N., Barter, C. and Churchill, H. (2021) ‘How child-focused are Child Protection Conferences?’ Child Abuse Review. 30 (5), pp. 458-472.
- Churchill, H., Sandbaek, M., Arsic, J., Jerenic, J., Jackson, A., Dobrotic, I. and Ruggiero, R. (2021) The conceptualisation and delivery of family policy and support in Europe: A review of international and European frameworks and standards. European Family Support Network (EurofamNet). COST action 18123 report.
- Churchill, H., Baena, S., Crosse, R., Jimenez, L and Millar, M. (2020) ‘Developing family support services: A comparison of national reforms and challenges in England, Ireland and Spain’, Social Work and Social Sciences Review, 21 (2), pp.58-83.
- Parr S and Churchill H. (2020) ‘The Troubled Families Programme: Learning about policy impact through realist case study research’. Social Policy and Administration, 54 (1), pp.134-157.
- Churchill, H and Sen, R. (2016) ‘Intensive Family Support Services: Politics, Policy and Practice across Contexts’. Social Policy and Society, 15 (2), pp. 221-231.
- Churchill, H and Fawcett, B. (2016) ‘Refocusing on Early Intervention and Family Support: A Review of Child Welfare Reforms in New South Wales, Australia’. Social Policy and Society, 15 (2), pp. 251-261.
- Churchill, H. (2013) ‘Retrenchment and restructuring: family support and children’s services reform under the Coalition’. Journal of Children’s Services, 8 (3), pp. 209-222.
- Clarke, K and Churchill, H. (2012) ‘‘A chance to stand back’: Parenting programmes for parents of adolescents’, Children and Society, 26 (4) pp. 316-327.
- Churchill, H. (2011) Parental rights and responsibilities: Analysing social policy and lived experiences, Policy Press: Bristol.