Jo Dixon

Jo Dixon


Former affiliations

Personal profile

Research interests

  • leaving care policy and practice
  • housing options, support and experiences for care-experienced people
  • transitions and outcomes for young people from foster and residential care
  • evaluating innovative interventions to support young people in care and on the edges of care
  • participatory methods – research with young people and others with lived experience of the issues through peer research, consultation, co-production and dissemination
  • qualitative and quantitative research methods including the use of RCTs in social care research 

Please find complete information on my research activities on my  spsw profile.


Jo Dixon has been a researcher in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at York since 2000.  Prior to that, she carried out research on depression in mothers at the Department of Psychiatry (University of Manchester) and on stepfamilies and changes in children’s lives at Thomas Coram Research Unit (University of London).

Since coming to York her research has focused on policy and practice related to the experiences and outcomes for young people in care, leaving care and on the edge of care.  This includes national studies of leaving care in England, Scotland and Ireland, research on the implementation of Special Guardianship and of innovative interventions such as Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care and the use of residential units to provide short stays for adolescents on the edge of care.

Between September 2010 and December 2014 Jo was seconded to Catch22’s National Care Advisory Service as research manager on the Big Lottery funded study of Corporate Parenting for young people in and from care, which involved working with care leavers as peer researchers.

Recently completed research includes: evaluations of housing initiatives for care-experienced young adults, studies of access to education and employment for care-experienced young people. Past research includes studies of preventive services for adolescents on the edge of care (Action for Children's Step Change programme and Calderdale's Right Home Project); the national evaluation of the New Belongings programme for care leavers;  an evaluation of the Stoke-on-Trent House Project, which developed an accommodation programme based on co-operative principles for care leavers;  an evaluation of the York Cares’ Bright Futures Project, which offered work experience and employment skills to young people in and leaving care in York; and the Children Looked After Mental Health (CLAMH) Project, working with NYCC and Young Minds to develop and pilot a mental health training package for staff working with young people in and leaving care.

Jo is currently leading/co-leading seven research projects involving young people in and leaving care: the evaluation of phase 2 of the House Project; the evaluation of three DfE Staying Close pilot projects for young people leaving residential care; and the evaluation of Bradford’s Positive Pathways programme for young people in and on the edges of care (in collaboration with the Rees Centre at Oxford University).  She is also Co-investigator on a Nuffield funded project of care leavers transitions into the Labour Market (with Dr Eran Melkman and Dr Neil Harrison at Oxford University) and on an evaluation of CentrePoint’s Housing First for Care Leavers (With colleagues in CHP and SPSW at York)

Jo is committed to ensuring that young people play an active role in research through opportunities to train as peer researchers, research advisers and co-presenters.  Jo was involved in developing and evaluating the Starting Blocks project to provide work placements to care experienced young people in York, which won national recognition as a model for the government’s FromCare2work programme.  She was Book Reviews Editor for the journal of Child and Family Social Work  and is an adviser on several research steering committees.  She is a member of the York and North Yorkshire Future HY Uni Connect partnership and a member of the University of York Care Leavers working group.  She contributes teaching sessions to Social Work and Social Policy students on Leaving Care Policy and Practice and on Qualitative Research Methods.

Education/Academic qualification

MA Social Policy, University of York

Award Date: 1 Jul 1992

External positions

Visiting Researcher, Rees Centre for Research in Fostering and Education, University of Oxford

15 Sept 201831 Mar 2020

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or