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Gale Burford, MSW, Ph.D., is a professor of social work and director of the Child Welfare Staff Training and Development Partnership at the University of Vermont, Department of Social Work. He has experience in teaching, training and carrying out research in Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. He is co-editor with Joe Hudson of Family Group Conferencing: New Directions in Community-Centered Child and Family Practice (Aldine/Transaction Pubs).
Marie Connolly, Ph.D., has recently been appointed Chair of Social Work, Melbourne School of Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne. She served as Chief Social Worker for New Zealand from 2005 until 2010.. Previously, she was associate professor and director of the Te Awatea Violence Research Centre at the University of Canterbury. She has published extensively in the area of child welfare and family practice, including eight related books, most recently, Child Death by Maltreatment (2007) and Morals, Rights and Practice in the Human Services (2008). She is particularly interested in the participatory rights of children and families in the context of child welfare, and more generally, in human rights-based practice. She has a statutory social work background in child care and protection.
Kate Morris is Associate Professor in Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. She was part of the group that introduced family group conferences into the U.K. in the early 1990s and has researched their use in a variety of U.K. settings. She managed the national evaluation of the U.K. Children's Fund, a large-scale national preventive program, and more recently led the literature review of whole-family approaches commissioned by the U.K. Cabinet Office. She has published in the areas of prevention and social exclusion, whole family approaches in social care, family participation and multi-agency working.
Joan Pennell, MSW, Ph.D., is a professor of social work and director of the Center for Family and Community Engagement at North Carolina State University. Her center has received funding for work on family-engagement meetings in child welfare, schools and system of care. With Gale Burford, she directed the Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada) demonstration of family group conferencing in situations of child maltreatment and domestic violence. She co-authored Community Research as Empowerment (Oxford University Press) and Widening the Circle (NASW Press).