University of Malta

Seminar Series 2012-2013
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Seminars in Family Policy Evaluation and Auditing of Family Services

The Department of Family Studies within the Faculty for Social Wellbeing organised a series of four seminars during the academic year 2012/2013. These seminars that were part of the Master in Family Studies course were delivered by leading scholars in the field of Family Policy evaluation.

The importance of evidence-based policy and the regular auditing of services were highlighted. Explanations of why research is needed, what kind of research is useful and how to go about formulating good quality research were also provided. References were made to examples of good practice in international literature. The seminars were interactive and those attending were encouraged to provide examples from the Maltese context of policies and services that could be monitored and audited. The participants were invited to brainstorm on how monitoring of these policies could be carried out. Different examples of auditing of services were also explored.

The seminars were attended by Members of Parliament, academics, researchers, policy directors and advisors and professionals working in the fields of psychology, health and social welfare, social work, education and law.

Seminar 1

Linking Early Parenting Style and Other Protective and Risk Factors  to the Development of Antisocial Behaviour

The first seminar, which focused on the link between early parenting style as well as other protective/risk factors and the development of antisocial behaviour, was held on the 12th of October 2012 at Old University Building, Valletta Campus. It was led by Professor Frances Gardner

Professor Frances Gardner is Professor of Child and Family francesgardnerPsychology in the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Wolfson College. She was the founding Director of the graduate programme in Evidence-Based Social Intervention at Oxford, and is co-Director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention. Her research focuses on the development of anti-social behaviour or conduct problems in children and young people, particularly how early parenting style, and other risk and protective factors, influence young people's mental health and adjustment. She conducts randomised controlled trials of community-based parenting programmes in the UK and US, as well as systematic reviews, and longitudinal studies of the development of antisocial behaviour and other mental health problems in young people, including orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa. She also uses UK national cohort data to assess how parenting and antisocial behaviour have changed over recent decades. She specialises in direct observational methods for assessing parent-child interaction. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of 'Blueprints for Violence Prevention', Colorado; the UK National Academy of Parenting Practitioners; SFI, the Danish National Centre for Social Research; and on a UNODC Expert Panel on worldwide family skills training.

Seminar 2

Strengthening and Supporting Family Relationships

janetwalkerThe second seminar focused on strengthening and supporting family relationships. It was held on the 19th and 20th of November 2012 at Msida Campus and was led by Professor Janet Walker.

Professor Janet Walker, OBE FRSA AcSS was Director of the Newcastle Centre for Family Studies between 1985 and 2005 and is also Emeritus Professor of Family Policy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Professor Walker has held a number of appointments on national and international committees; provided advice to various Ministries of Justice; and in the late 1990s worked with the Council of Europe as expert consultant in the field of Family Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution.


Seminar 3

Sociology of the Family, Family Change, Lone-Parent Families, Work and Poverty



The third seminar focused on sociology of the family, family change, lone-parent families, work and poverty. It was held on the 8th and 9th February 2013 at Msida Campus and was led by Professor Jane Millar.   

Professor Jane Millar, OBE AcSS FRSA FHEA has been a Special Adviser to House of Commons Select Committees, to the Department for Work and Pensions and the No. 10 Policy Unit. She was elected to Academy of Social Sciences in 2000, and awarded an OBE in June 2001 for 'services to social policy research and teaching'. Professor Millar has been Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Bath since 2008.


Seminar 4

  Effective Pre-School and Primary Education and National Evaluation of Sure Start Projects


The fourth seminar focused on effective pre-school and primary education (EPPE) and the national evaluation of Sure Start projects. It was held on the 12th and 13th of April 2013 at Msida Campus and was led by Professor Edward Melhuish

Professor Edward Melhuish, C. Psychol. (UK.) FBPsS is Professor of Human Development at Birkbeck, University of London and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Education. He is an internationally recognised expert in the study of child development and social policy. He has undertaken research in 12 countries, including the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education (EPPE) and the National Evaluation of Sure Start projects. The studies consider family, community and pre-school experiences on child development, and policy implications, and have influenced several UK acts of parliament. He has over 200 publications. He has contributed to social policy for young children and been a scientific advisor in Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, Portugal, Australia, Korea and Chile, as well as to the European Commission, OECD and WHO.




Last Updated: 4 November 2014

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