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Personal profile


I have been a social work academic for over 30 years and before that was a practicing social worker in Birmingham in the 1970s. Working at Coventry University I taught on social work qualifying and post-qualifying courses, as well as on undergraduate and post-graduate courses for a range of professions and social science disciplines. I led social work, applied social science and health studies departments. I established the Centre for Social Justice. I was Vice Chair of the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee; led the writing of a long term strategy for social work research and contributed to the development of the discipline of social work at a national level in a variety of ways. I co-founded the international Social Work and Health Inequalities Network which has over 350 members in over 25 countries and co-wrote the health policy of the International Federation of Social Workers. Since retiring from full time work I have been developing research on child welfare inequalities. I have published 5 books and over 50 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. I am now employed as Professor of Social Work by Huddersfield University and have an honorary research fellowship with the University of Sheffield.

Research Expertise and Interests

I have a long term interest in studying the relationships between social inequalities and social work. For many years this focussed on health inequalities and I co-founded the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network. In recent years I have drawn on that background to develop the study of child welfare inequalities in the UK and internationally. I have led a series of research projects funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which have examined inequalities in parents' and children's chances of involvement with children's social work services, their experiences of those services and the resultant outcomes. We have conducted studies comparing the four UK countries and local authorities within each of those countries. This has led to further work on local authority expenditure, inspection regimes, social work practice and parents' perceptions of services.

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Social Inequalities
  • Poverty
  • Social Work
  • Child Protection
  • Child Welfare

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Paul Bywaters is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 2 Similar Profiles
child welfare Social Sciences
Social Work Medicine & Life Sciences
child protection Social Sciences
Child Welfare Medicine & Life Sciences
social work Social Sciences
deprivation Social Sciences
health Social Sciences
England Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1999 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

Child protection and social inequality: Editorial

Bywaters, P., Featherstone, B. & Morris, K., 30 Jan 2019, In : Social Sciences. 8, 2, 42.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Open Access
child protection
social inequality
government policy
1 Citation (Scopus)

Paradoxical evidence on ethnic inequities in child welfare: towards a research agenda

Bywaters, P., Scourfield, J., Webb, C., Morris, K., Featherstone, B., Brady, G., Jones, C. & Sparks, T., 1 Jan 2019, In : Children and Youth Services Review. 96, p. 145-154 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Child Welfare
child welfare
Child Abuse
8 Citations (Scopus)

Poverty, inequality, child abuse and neglect: Changing the conversation across the UK in child protection?

Featherstone, B., Morris, K., Daniel, B., Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Mason, W. & Mirza, N., 1 Feb 2019, In : Children and Youth Services Review. 97, p. 127-133 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Child Abuse
child protection

Toward Full Integration of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Case Study Research: Insights From Investigating Child Welfare Inequalities

Mason, W., Morris, K., Webb, C., Daniels, B., Featherstone, B., Bywaters, P., Mirza, N., Hooper, J., Brady, G., Bunting, L. & Scourfield, J., 1 Jul 2019, In : Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Case Study Research
Qualitative Methods
Mixed Methods
quantitative method
2 Citations (Scopus)

A Four-Nation Comparison of Kinship Care in the UK: The Relationship between Formal Kinship Care and Deprivation

Mccartan, C., Bunting, L., Bywaters, P., Davidson, G., Elliott, M. & Hooper, J., Oct 2018, In : Social Policy and Society. 17, 4, p. 619-635 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
extended family
home care
welfare state

Activities 2018 2019

  • 4 Invited talk

Ethnic inequalities in children's social care: why the silence?

Paul Bywaters (Speaker)
13 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

What can we learn from elsewhere

Paul Bywaters (Speaker)
19 Nov 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Storing Up Trouble: the need for better data

Paul Bywaters (Speaker)
11 Jul 2018

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

Press / Media

Extreme Ethnic Inequalities in the Care

Paul Bywaters


5 items of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Society Pays Later for not Giving Vulnerable Children a Good Start

Paul Bywaters


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Why are Children Treated Unequally by Social Care Services

Paul Bywaters


1 item of Media coverage, 1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Research

All Party Parliamentary Group's report on children's social care criticizes new policies

Brigid Featherstone & Paul Bywaters


1 item of Media coverage, 1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Expert Comment