Robert Urquhart is Head of Knowledge, Outcomes and Research at Barnados Australia. In this role, he researches and shapes services that help vulnerable children – driving processes, policy and people towards outcomes that challenge social inequality.
In devising robust research methods that translate into informed advocacy and practice, Robert uses his creativity and empathic listening, partnering with social workers and practitioners in the field to better understand the numerous issues and impacts on children’s agency and wellbeing – issues that span poverty, parental drug-and-alcohol addiction, homelessness and domestic violence.
In seeking to co-create sustainable policy change, Robert is always building and nurturing relationships with a wide variety of stakeholders from government, agencies, regulators and peak bodies through to the media as well as the children and their families. He says collaboration is key because children rely on adults to give them a voice in society. I apply these principles to my research, bringing openness to my work and ensuring our programs are fun and inclusive.
Robert has worked in child welfare and social policy since 1990, collaborating with globally-respected researchers and building an evidence-base to inform child welfare-related reform. His PhD was based on the positive effects of friendships among children and how these findings can affect professional practice, policy and research.
Robert is co-author of Social Change and Cultural Transformation in Australia (Cambridge University Press) and is a frequent invited speaker at conferences and seminars nationally and internationally.