Dr Lisa Holmes

Lisa Holmes is Director of the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education.

I gained a First Class Joint Honours degree in Psychology and Criminology at the University of Lincoln and went on to complete a PhD within the Department of Social Science, Loughborough University.

Prior to joining the Rees Centre I was the Director of the Centre for Child and Family Research, Loughborough University and was involved in the research centre’s formation in 2001. Over the past seventeen years I have undertaken a range of research projects and evaluations to inform child welfare policy and practice.

I have also carried out a number of responsive studies for various government departments, including the Department for Education and Ministry of Justice. These responsive studies were carried out to address specific policy issues. In 2005 I was seconded into the English government department for Children, Schools and Families to disseminate research findings and produce a practice guide and resource pack to assist children’s services department with the strategic development and planning of services. I have published a range of books, journal articles and project reports.

Throughout my research career I have actively disseminated my research with a particular focus on ensuring impact and knowledge transfer across children’s social care policy and practice. I have presented papers at numerous national and international conferences, seminars and workshops.

I would welcome informal contacts from prospective doctoral students interested in the following topics:

  • Foster care
  • Children’s residential care
  • Child protection and safeguarding
  • International comparisons of child welfare systems
  • Child welfare time use and the impact on decision making
  • Cost effectiveness of child welfare interventions


My research interests encompass all aspects of the child welfare system, these include: child and family outcomes; staff and organisational outcomes; cost effectiveness of interventions and analyses of time use and decision making within child welfare systems.

My research interests are embedded in my early career experiences of working in a local authority children’s home in the early 1990s, during the period that the Children Act (1989) was being implemented. My interest in children’s residential care has continued and I am a founding member and co-chair (with Professor James Whittaker and Professor Jorge F del Valle) of the International Work Group on Therapeutic Residential Care.

My PhD focused on the relationship between needs, costs and outcomes of services provided to vulnerable children and their families, with a focus on developing methods to capture time use data from child welfare practitioners.

My current work includes a range of evaluations of new programmes being introduced in to child welfare systems and I am currently involved (in partnership with colleagues from Chapin Hall, the University of Chicago) in the exploration of time use in a series of Title IV e Waiver evaluations in the US.


  • Department staff


  • Director of the Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education
  • Senior Researcher

Research groups

  • Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education