Image of Kate MorrisProfessor Kate Morris

Professor of Social Work
Faculty Director of Learning and Teaching

BA Hons (First Class) University of Coventry
C.Q.S.W University of Coventry
PhD (Social Work) University of Nottingham

Telephone: 0114 222 6453 (external), 26453 (internal)
Room: Elmfield, 1.55a


Kate Morris is a qualified registered social worker, and joined the University of Sheffield in 2015. She was previously Director of the Centre for Social Work and Deputy Head of School, University of Nottingham. She began her career as an academic at the University of Birmingham. However, Kate gained substantial experience in practice, management and policy development prior to moving into social work education and through her research and her involvement in national and international social work developments has remained very closely connected to practice.


Kate’s areas of interest are: family minded policy and practice, family participation in care and protection, the reform of safeguarding practice and child welfare inequalities. She is passionate about social work and the role of social work in supporting change. Kate managed the large scale complex national evaluation of the Children’s Fund (2003 – 2006) and has retained a strong interest in early help and family support. Kate was funded to explore the involvement of families in the reviews of cases when a child has died or suffered serious injury as a result of abuse and, with Professor Brid Featherstone is leading an exploratory study of the perspectives and experiences of families with multiple and complex needs. This builds on her previous work for the UK government as part of the 'Think Family' policy stream, and her work internationally reviewing the evidence concerned with the impact and effect of family decision making in care and protection. Kate leads the case study strand for the Child Welfare Inequalities research. Kate is active in international and national social work reform, and was previously chair of JUCSWEC. Kate sits on the international advisory board for the journal Families, Societies and Relationships and the Editorial Board for the journal Relational Social Work. She is a reviewer for national and international grant making organisations and research funders, and has held various national policy advisory roles. Kate is the academic lead for the Faculty of Social Sciences ‘Children’s Chances’ stream and supervises PhD students in the areas of family caring relationships, family interventions and family support.

Recent Funded Research Projects
Date Sponsor Details
2019 - 2021 RIP Change Programme Domestic Abuse: Thinking Differently about Responses
2014 - 2019 Nuffield Identifying and understanding inequalities in child welfare intervention rates (with Professor Paul Bywaters. PI)
2015-2018 NORFACE Family complexity and social work: A comparative study of family-based welfare work in different welfare regimes (with Professor Sue White, UK lead)
2012-2017 BIG Lottery Improving Futures : National Evaluation
2015-2016 ESRC Knowledge exchange programme ‘Family Potential
2015-2016 DfE / Leeds City Council An Evaluation of Leeds Innovation Programme Family Valued
2014-2016 Lankelly Chase / Family Rights Group
Family Experiences of Multiple Service Use (with Professor Brid Featherstone)
2013-2015 British Academy Theorising Families: An examination of social work practices


Kate currently convenes the following undergraduate module:

  • SCS2006 - Sociology of the Family

Postgraduate supervision

Kate supervises PhD students in the areas of family practices, social work practice, child protection, and has acted as an external examiner for doctoral students at universities across the UK including Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cardiff, Royal Holloway and is currently an external examiner for the MA Social Work at the University of Bristol.

To find out more about our PhD programmes, go to:
Studying for a PhD in Sociology

To apply for a place and for the scholarship, go to:


Publications since 2005

Selected recent publications:

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.

Walsh, J. C., White, S., Morris, K., & Doherty, P. 2018. How do you solve a problem like Maria? Family complexity and institutional complications in UK social work. European Journal of Social Work. doi:10.1080/13691457.2018.1461068

Sen, R. N., Morris, K., Burford, G., Featherstone, B., & Webb, C. 2018. ‘When you're sitting in the room with two people one of whom… has bashed the hell out of the other’: Possibilities and challenges in the use of FGCs and restorative practice following domestic violence. Children and Youth Services Review. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.03.027

Featherstone, B., Gupta, A., Morris, K. M., & Warner, J. 2018. Let's stop feeding the risk monster: towards a social model of 'child protection'. Families, Relationships and Societies, 71, 7-22. doi:10.1332/204674316X14552878034622

Morris, K. M., Mason, W., Bywaters, P., Daniel, B., Featherstone, B., Mirza, N., . . . Webb, C. 2018. Social work, poverty, and child welfare interventions. Child and Family Social Work. doi:10.1111/cfs.12423

Morris, K. M., Archard, P., Laird, S., & Clawson, R. 2017. Family experiences of children’s social care involvement following a social work change programme. Journal of Social Work Practice. doi:10.1080/02650533.2017.1326473

Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Daniel, B., Featherstone, B., Jones, C., . . . Webb, C. 2017. Inequalities in English child protection practice under austerity: a universal challenge?. Child & Family Social Work. doi:10.1111/cfs.12383

Mason, P., Ferguson, H., Morris, K., Munton, T., & Sen, R. N. 2017. Leeds Family Valued. Evaluation Report DFE-RR567. Retrieved from

Morris, K. M., & Burford, G. 2017. Engaging Families in Practice. In M. Connolly, & N. Parton Eds., Beyond the Risk Paradigm in Child Protection Current Debates and New Directions. Palgrave.

Featherstone, B., Morris, K., Daniel, B., Bywaters, P., Brady, G., Bunting, L., Mason, W. and Mirza, N. 2017. Poverty, inequality, child abuse and neglect: changing the conversation across the UK in child protection? Children and Youth Services Review.

Laid, S., Morris, K. M., Archard, P. & Clawson, R. 2017. Changing practice: The possibilities and limits for reshaping social work practice. Qualitative Social Work. doi:10.1177/1473325016688371

Laid, S., Morris, K. M., Archard, P. & Clawson, R. 2017. Working with the Whole Family: What Case Files tell us about Social Work Practices. Child and Family Social Work. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12349

Morris, K., Mason, W., Bywaters, P., Featherstone, B., Daniels, B., & Mirza, N. 2016. Why those most needing child protection might be least likely to get it. Community Care. Retrieved from

Morris KM, White S, Doherty P, Warwick L. 2015. Out of time: theorising family in social work practice, Child and Family Social Work. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12257

Bywaters P., Brad G., Sparks T., Bos E., Bunting L., Daniel B., Featherstone B., Morris and Scourfield. J., 2015. Exploring inequities in child welfare and child protection services: Explaining the ‘inverse intervention law’ Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 57, Pages 98-105. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.07.017

Morris K, Brandon M, Tudor P., 2015. Rights, Responsibilities and Pragmatic Practice: Family Participation in Case Reviews, Child Abuse Review 24(3):198-209. doi: 10.1002/car.2272

Featherstone, B., White, S. and Morris K., 2014. Re-Imaging Child Protection: Towards humane social work with families Bristol: Policy Press

The Guardian October 22nd 2014 ‘We need to think again about how to protect children’ Kate Morris, Brid Featherstone and Sue White

The Conversation April 2014: ‘Cinderella law’ proposals are unhelpful and draconian

The Conversation July 2014: Outrage at privatising child protection should spark an overhaul of the whole system

Featherstone, B, Morris, K and White, S, 2013. A Marriage made in Hell: Early Intervention meets Child Protection British Journal of Social Work. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bct052

Morris, K., 2013. Troubled Families: Vulnerable Families’ Experiences of Multiple Service Use Child & Family Social Work. 18(2), 198 – 206. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00822.x

Morris, K. and Connolly, M., 2012. Family Decision Making in Child Welfare: Challenges in Developing a Knowledge Base for Practice Child Abuse Review. 21(1), 41-52

Morris, K., 2012. Thinking Family? The Complexities of Family Engagement in Care and Protection British Journal of Social Work. 42(5), 906-920

Connolly M and Morris K, 2012. Understanding Child and Family Welfare: Statutory Responses to Children at Risk Palgrave Macmillan.

Morris K, 2011. Family Support: Policies for Practice. in: Davis M, Ed., Social Work: The Knowledge Base Palgrave Macmillan.

Morris K, 2011. Social Work Education: Some Reflections on The Challenges for The Future (Guest Editorial) Social Work Education.

Morris K, 2010. Social Work and Prevention: An Uneasy Relationship. in: Ayre P. and Preston Shoot M., Ed., Children’s Services at The Crossroads RHP.

Morris K and Featherstone B, 2010. Investing in Children, Regulating Parents, Thinking Family: a Decade of Tensions and Contradictions. Social Policy and Society. 9, 557-566