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Associate Professor Nicola Atwool

atwoolBSocSc (Waik) MA (Applied) (Well) PhD DipChPst (Otago)

Social Work Programme

Contact Details

Room 1.04, 280 Leith Walk
Phone 64 3 479 5442
Email nicola.atwool@otago.ac.nz

Biosketch

I have professional qualifications in social work and child psychotherapy. I was employed in a variety of roles by what is now Oranga Tamariki - Ministry for Children for nearly twenty years.

I joined the University of Otago in 1994 when I was appointed to a lecturer position in Community and Family Studies. I became a Senior Lecturer in 2000. During this time I had a close association with the Children’s Issues Centre.

At the beginning of 2006 I took up a position as Principal Advisor in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. I returned to the University at the beginning of 2012 as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work.

Research Interests

The goal of my research is to influence policy and practice to improve outcomes for children and young people exposed to adversity. I came to an academic position with extensive practitioner experience and am committed to research that bridges the worlds of academia, policy and practice.

I have a particular interest in attachment theory and resilience and in 2008 completed a PhD exploring the use of attachment assessments in decision-making for children in care. An ecological framework, the sociology of childhood, critical theory, and a children’s rights perspective informs my work.

Postgraduate Supervision

I currently supervise two Masters students completing projects related to attachment. I am interested in hearing from students interested in the application of attachment and resilience theories to social work and therapeutic intervention. I have a continuing interest in research on children in care and child maltreatment prevention.

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Publications

Atwool, N. (2019). Challenges of operationalizing trauma-informed practice in child protection services in New Zealand. Child & Family Social Work, 24(1), 25-32. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12577

Atwool, N. (2019). Child-centred practice in a bi- and multi-cultural context: Challenges and dilemmas. Child Care in Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2018.1555140

Atwool, N. (2018). Are we setting children in care and their care givers up to fail? Children Australia. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/cha.2018.42

Atwool, N. (2017). Life story work: Optional extra or fundamental entitlement? Child Care in Practice, 23(1), 64-76. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2015.1126228

Atwool, N. (2017, August). Investing in early intervention: Making a difference to children's life stories. Verbal presentation at the Education Leaders Forum (ELF): Life Passages & Learning Paths, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Chapter in Book - Research

Atwool, N. (2016). Journeys of exclusion: Unpacking the experience of adolescent care leavers in New Zealand. In P. Mendes & P. Snow (Eds.), Young people transitioning from out-of-home care: International research, policy and practice. (pp. 309-328). London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-55639-4_15

Atwool, N. (2013). Children and vulnerability. In N. Higgins & C. Freeman (Eds.), Childhoods: Growing up in Aotearoa New Zealand. (pp. 44-58). Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press.

Gaffney, M., Taylor, N., & Atwool, N. (2008). New Zealand. In I. Epstein & J. Pattnaik (Eds.), The Greenwood encyclopedia of children's issues worldwide: Asia and Oceania. (pp. 301-323). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Atwool, N. (2005). Working with adults who are parenting. In M. Nash, R. Munford & K. O'Donoghue (Eds.), Social work theories in action. (pp. 223-238). London: Jessica Kingsley.

Atwool, N. R. (2000). Children who have been exposed to risk and trauma. In A. B. Smith, N. J. Taylor & M. M. Gollop (Eds.), Children's Voices. (pp. 56-71). Auckland: Pearson Education.

Atwool, N. R. (2000). Trauma and children's rights. In A. B. Smith, M. Gollop, K. Marshall & K. Nairn (Eds.), Advocating for Children. (pp. 19-31). Dunedin, New Zealand: University of Otago Press.

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Chapter in Book - Other

Atwool, N. (2004). Attachment and the developing child. In Plunket nurse resourse manual. (pp. 83-87). Wellington: Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.

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Journal - Research Article

Atwool, N. (2019). Challenges of operationalizing trauma-informed practice in child protection services in New Zealand. Child & Family Social Work, 24(1), 25-32. doi: 10.1111/cfs.12577

Atwool, N. (2019). Child-centred practice in a bi- and multi-cultural context: Challenges and dilemmas. Child Care in Practice. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2018.1555140

Atwool, N. (2017). Life story work: Optional extra or fundamental entitlement? Child Care in Practice, 23(1), 64-76. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2015.1126228

Atwool, N. (2013). Birth family contact for children in care: How much? How often? Who with? Child Care in Practice, 19(2), 181-198. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2012.758086

Fernandez, E., & Atwool, N. (2013). Child protection and out of home care: Policy, practice, and research connections Australia and New Zealand. Psychosocial Intervention, 22(3), 175-184. doi: 10.5093/in2013a21

Atwool, N. (2011). Preventing child neglect in New Zealand: Summary report. Social Work Now, (48), 18-24.

Atwool, N. (2007). The role of secure attachment as a protective factor for vulnerable infants. Social Work Now, 38, 11-20.

Atwool, N. (2006). Attachment and resilience: Implications for children in care. Child Care in Practice, 12(4), 315-330. doi: 10.1080/13575270600863226

Atwool, N. (2006). Participation in decision-making: The experience of New Zealand children in care. Child Care in Practice, 12(3), 259-267. doi: 10.1080/13575270600761727

Atwool, N. (2004). Attachment and discipline. Childrenz Issues, 8(2), 34-51.

Atwool, N. R. (2003). If it's such a good idea, how come it doesn't work? Chidrenz Issues, 7(2), 31-35.

Panelli, R., Nairn, K., Atwool, N. R., & McCormack, J. (2002). 'Hanging out': Print media constructions of young people in 'public space'. Childrenz Issues, 6(1), 23-30.

Atwool, N. R. (2002). Attachment and the developing child. Childrenz Issues, 6(2), 21-27.

Atwool, N. R. (2002). Adolescents and attachment: Implications for adults working with young people. Childrenz Issues, 6(1), 39-43. 6.

Atwool, N. R. (2001). Children's voice in the Family Court. Childrenz Issues, 5(1), 28-32.

Atwool, N. R. (1999). New Zealand children in the 1990s: Beneficiaries of new right economic policy? Children & Society, 13(5), 380-393.

Atwool, N. R. (1999). Attachment in the school setting. New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 34(2), 309-322.

Smith, A. B., Gollop, M. M., Taylor, N. J., & Atwool, N. R. (1999). Children's voices in foster or kinship care: Knowledge, understanding and participation. Journal of Child Centred Practice, 6(1), 9-37.

Atwool, N. R. (1999). Attachment and post-intervention decision-making for children in care. Journal of Child Centred Practice, 6(1), 39-55.

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Journal - Research Other

Atwool, N. (2018). Are we setting children in care and their care givers up to fail? Children Australia. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1017/cha.2018.42

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Journal - Professional & Other Non-Research Articles

Atwool, N. (2013). Community development: A theoretical framework for New Zealand. Children, 83, 11-16.

Atwool, N. R. (2003). Response. New Zealand Bioethics Journal, 4(2), 35-36.

Atwool, N. R. (2002). Who's listening? The voice of the traumatised child. Forum, 8, 6-17.

Atwool, N. R. (1998). Evidential interviewing: Giving children a voice in the courtroom. Childrenz Issues, 2(2), 17-21.

Atwool, N. R. (1997). (Re)placing the child in childhood trauma. Childrenz Issues, 1(1), 28-31.

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Atwool, N. (2013). Care and protection orders and CYFS. New Zealand Law Society Seminar. (pp. 1-70). Wellington, New Zealand: NZLS CLE. [Full Paper]

Atwool, N. (2006). Challenges to accessing the family law system. In B. Smyth, N. Richardson & G. Soriano (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Forum on Family Relationships in Transition: Legislative, Practical and Policy Responses. (pp. 254-257). Melbourne, Australia: Australian Institute of Family Studies. [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Atwool, N. (2006). Making connections: Attachment and resilience. Proceedings of the 10th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect. Retrieved from http://www.nzfvc.org.nz/accan/papers-presentations/day3.shtml

Atwool, N. R. (2002). Playing up: Maximising children's participation in therapeutic environments. Full paper. In M. Gollop & J. McCormack (Eds.), Children and Young People's Environments. (pp. 67-73). Dunedin: University of Otago. [Abstract]

Atwool, N. R. (1997). Making connections - attachment and resiliency. In A. B. Smith & N. Taylor (Eds.), Minimising Risk, Maximising Resiliency. Proceedings of the Second Child and Family Conference. (pp. 155-164). Dunedin: University of Otago. [Abstract]

Atwool, N. R. (1996). The cost of not investing in children. In A. B. Smith & N. Taylor (Eds.), Investing in Children: primary Prevention Strategies. Proceedings of the Inaugural Child and Family Policy Conference. (pp. 433-440). Dunedin: University of Otago. [Abstract]

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Atwool, N. (2017, August). Investing in early intervention: Making a difference to children's life stories. Verbal presentation at the Education Leaders Forum (ELF): Life Passages & Learning Paths, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2017, April). Complex problems require complex responses. Verbal presentation at the Culture of Family and Sexual Violence Conference, Queenstown, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2016, October). Walking the talk in challenging times. Keynote presentation at the Social Service Providers of Aotearoa: Taking Charge of Change, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2016, November). Child-centered practice: Relevance for Aotearoa New Zealand? Verbal presentation at the Social Work in Changing Times Conference: Towards Better Outcomes, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Kelly, P., & Atwool, N. (2015, April). Child-centred multi-agency practice: Challenges for change. Keynote presentation at the 14th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: Cultural Responsiveness in a Multi-Agency World, Auckland, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2015, November). Reconceptualising care. Verbal presentation at the International Foster Care Organisation (IFCO): Tell Someone Who Cares (TSWC): Caring for Our Children, Sydney, Australia.

Atwool, N. (2015, October). Missing in action: The child at the heart of care and protection concerns. Verbal presentation at the 2nd Aotearoa New Zealand Childhood Studies Colloquium: What Does Childhood Studies Mean for Research, Policy and Practice? Dunedin, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2015, October). Little things matter. Workshop presentation at the Youth for Change Conference: Creating a Better Future, Brisbane, Australia.

Atwool, N. (2015, September). Placement stability: Achieving positive outcomes for kids in care. Keynote presentation at the Fostering Kids National Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2014, October). A new way of working together for vulnerable children and families or moving the deckchairs on the Titanic? Keynote presentation at the Social Service Providers Aotearoa Conference: Collaboration and Innovation for Vulnerable Children and Whānau, Invercargill, New Zealand.

Atwool, N. (2014, November). Creating child-centred care and protection systems. Verbal presentation at the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Conference, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Atwool, N. (2014, November). Children's participation: Children in care. Verbal presentation at the 25th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) Conference, Leiden, The Netherlands.

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