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Dr Linda Cusworth

Research Fellow

Linda Cusworth

Bowland North



Research overview

Dr Cusworth's research interests focus on child well-being, improving child outcomes for vulnerable children and young people, child protection, looked after children, care leavers, and permenance pathways for children unable to live with their birth parents.  She is interested in the secondary analysis of administrative data, cohort data, and data linkage, and experienced in (online) survey design, administration and analysis.

PhD supervision

Private family law, public family law, child protection, looked after children, adoption

My Role

After working in the Social Policy Research Unit at the University of York for 10 years, Linda joined Lancaster University part-time in May 2017 as a Senior Research Associate in the Centre for Child and Family Justice Research, and is based in the Law School.  Initially she worked on the Nuffield-funded national study of supervision orders and special guardianship, with Professor Judith Harwin, undertaking analysis of local authority casefiles and administrative data, and contributing to the final report. 

Linda is a Co-Investigator on the Permanently Progressing project, in collaboration with the University of Stirling and Adoption and Fostering Alliance (Scotland).  Phase One ran from 2014 to 2018, with Linda's involvement transferring to Lancaster in 2017.  Phase Two started in December 2020 (more info here).

Linda is now a Research Fellow, and Co-Investigator/lead researcher on the £2.2million Nuffield-Funded Family Justice Observatory Data Partnership, led by Professor Karen Broadhurst (Sociology, Lancaster University) and Professor David Ford (SAIL Databank, Swansea University).



Linda is an experienced quantitative social researcher, with expertise in secondary analysis, data linkage and management, survey (including online survey) design and analysis.  She has made extensive use of administrative and cohort data sources (including the Born in Bradford birth cohort, Health Episode Statistics, National Pupil Database, and looked after children/children in need datasets in England and Scotland), as well as collecting primary quantitative data, and has recent experience of linking multiple sources of cohort data, administrative data and primary data.

Linda’s main research interests centre on child well-being and improving child outcomes, particularly those for children in or on the margins of the care system.  Having worked for 10 years in the Social Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of York, she has worked on a range of projects relating to child protection, child well-being and family justice.  Most recently she was a co-investigator on a 2-year ESRC-funded project (2014-16) comparing outcomes for children who enter care due to concerns about maltreatment, with similar children who remain at home and are the subject of a Child Protection Plan (CPP), and co-investigator on a study (2014-2018) funded by British Association of Adoption and Fostering (Scotland), looking at the experiences, outcomes, and pathways to permanence for children who were accommodated under the age of five in Scotland.  Linda is now a Research Fellow at Lancaster, and Co-Investigator/lead researcher on the Nuffield-funded Family Justice Observatory Data Partnership.

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