Image of Harriet ChurchillDr Harriet Churchill

Lecturer in Social Work (Family support, social policy)

(BA, PhD)

Telephone: 0114 222 6440 (external), 26440 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, LG14

Twitter: @HarrieChurchill


Harriet joined the Department of Sociological Studies in 2008. Previously she taught on social policy and politics programmes at the University of Manchester (2005-2008) and was a Research Fellow working on an evaluation of Sure Start centres based in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds.

Harriet’s academic and teaching interests are in the areas of social policy, childhood/family studies, family support and children’s services. Her research and publications in these areas examine national and international reforms in the context of broader features of social change, political debate and welfare state restructuring. Harriet is committed to promoting progressive, evidence-informed policy and practice in the interests of children’s rights, family welfare, social inclusion and social equality.

Harriet is on the Management Board for the journal Families, Relationships and Societies; is a Higher Education Academy Fellow (FHEA) and a member of the Social Policy Association.


Harriet is the Postgraduate (Taught) Exams Officer.


Harriet has research interests in the areas of UK social/family policy, comparative social/family policy, policy/programme evaluation and family support/children’s services reforms. Several publications analyse critical debates and reforms in social policies for children, parents and families in the UK. In the UK context, Harriet has been involved in qualitative studies about lone motherhood, ‘whole family support’, Sure Start children’s centres; and parenting support and education programmes. Recently, Harriet’s work has incorporated greater focus on comparative policy analysis and cross-national research. Harriet is a founding member of the European Family Support Network (EuroFam Net) which since 2019 has been funded under the European COST action programme to undertake a four year programme of knowledge exchange activities related to family support research, policy and practice in Europe.

Current research projects/funding

The European Family Support Network (EuroFam Net). Funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program (COST Action no.18123) 2019-2022. Harriet is one of the co-investigators on the project and the co-leader of Working Group 2 which is concerned with ‘the conceptualisation and delivery of family support in Europe’. The Principal Investigator/Grant Holder is based in Psychology, University of Seville, Spain.


Harriet contributes to teaching on our undergraduate and postgraduate social policy, sociology, criminology and dual honours programmes.

Harriet is Module Convenor/Co-Convenor for the following modules:

  • SCS1029 Welfare, Politics and the State
  • SCS6111 International Childhood and Family Studies

Harriet also teaches sessions on several additional undergraduate and postgraduate modules.

Postgraduate supervision

Students who share similar research interests to those listed below are welcome to discuss the possibility of postgraduate supervision:

  • Social policy debates, reforms and contexts related to childhood, parenthood and family relations;
  • Sociology of childhood and family life;
  • Welfare state reform in the UK and Europe;
  • Promoting social welfare and social equality for children and young people.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:

Studying for a PhD in Sociology


Publications since 2005

Parr, S and Churchill, H (2019) ‘The Troubled Families Programme: Learning about policy impact through realist case study research’, Social Policy and Administration, Early View,

Churchill, H (2018) Austerity adversely targets children in need, SPA 50 yrs Blog series, available at:

Churchill, H., Morris K and Richardson-Foster, H (2018) Exploring the lessons from the dissemination of research to the judiciary involved in public family law and child care proceedings, University of Sheffield: Sheffield.

Churchill, H. & Sen, R. (2016). Introduction: Intensive Family Support Services: Politics, Policy and Practice Across Contexts. Social Policy and Society, 15:2, pp 251-261 doi:10.1017/S1474746416000026

Churchill, H. & 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 doi:10.1017/S1474746416000038

Churchill, H. and Sen, R. (Eds.) (2016). Intensive Family Support Services: Politics, Policy and Practice Across Contexts [Themed section]. Social Policy and Society, 15 (2), pp. 251-336.

Churchill, H. (2016). One step forward, two steps back: Children and young people. In H. Bochel & M. Powell (Eds.), The Coalition Government and Social Policy Restructuring the Welfare State. Policy Press.

Churchill, H. (2013). Retrenchment and restructuring: family support and children’s services reform under the coalition. Journal of Children's Services, 8(3), 209-222. doi:10.1108/JCS-05-2013-0020

Churchill, H. A., & Clarke, K. (2013). Troubled and troublesome teens: Mothers' and professionals' understandings of parenting teenagers and teenage troubles. In V. Gillies, & J. McCarthy-Ribbens (Eds.), Family Troubles: Family Change and Family Experiences. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Churchill, H. A. (2012). Family support and the Coalition: retrenchment, refocusing and restructuring. In M. Kilkey, G. Ramia, & K. Farnsworth (Eds.), Social Policy Review 24: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2012 (pp. 35-54). Policy Press.

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. doi: 10.1111/j.1099-0860.2010.00346.x

Churchill, H (2011) Parental rights and responsibilities: Analysing policy and service user perspectives, Bristol: Policy Press

Churchill, H and Clarke, K (2009) ‘Investing in parent education: A critical review of policy and provision under New Labour’, Social Policy and Society, 9 (1), pp. 39-53. doi: 10.1017/S1474746409990182

Churchill, H (2009) `Every child´s voice matters?´, in Durose, C., Greasley, S and Richardson, L (eds), Changing Citizens: The impact of local governance on citizens, Policy Press.

Churchill, H and Clarke, K (2009) A small scale evaluation of Manchester City Council’s work with families with complex and multiple needs, In-house report for Manchester City Council Children’s Services Director, Manchester.

Churchill, H and Clarke, K (2008) A pilot evaluation of Manchester City Council’s Parenting Your Teen courses, In-house report for Manchester City Council Children’s Services Director, Manchester.

Churchill, H. A. (2008) 'Communities in control? The challenges of neighbourhood governance with reference to local government reform in England', Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, 1(1), 49-69. doi:10.5130/cjlg.v1i0.757

Churchill, H (2008) 'Being a responsible mother: New Labour policy discourses versus lone mothers’ contextualised accounts', in Bridgeman, J., Keating, H and Lind, C (eds) Responsibility, Law and the Family, Ashgate Publishing.

Churchill, H and Clarke, K (2007) Parenting Interventions with the Parents of Adolescents: A review of approaches, programmes and outcomes, In-house report for Manchester City Council Children’s Services Director, Manchester.

Churchill, H (2007) `New Labour versus lone mothers´ discourses of parental responsibility and children´s needs´, Critical Policy Analysis, 1 (2) pp.170-183. doi: 10.1080/19460171.2007.9518517

Churchill, H and Sanders, T (2007) Getting Your PhD: A Practical Insiders Guide, Sage: London.

Churchill, H (2007) `Children´s Services in 2006´, in Clarke, K., Maltby, T and Kennett, P (eds) Social Policy Review 19: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, Bristol: Polity Press.

Churchill, H (2007) Decentralising public service provision and decision making to the neighbourhood level: Opportunities and challenges for local agencies, North West Improvement Network/ IPEG: Manchester.

Churchill, H (2007) Choice in public services: A review of the evidence, North West Improvement Network/ IPEG: Manchester.

Williams, F and Churchill, H (2006) Empowering parents in Sure Start Local Programmes, National Evaluation of Sure Start Report, NESS/2006/FR/018, London: DfES.