Karen Winter is a lecturer in social work at Queen’s University Belfast. Prior to taking up her academic post, Karen worked for 16 years as a qualified social worker and team manager with children and families and then as a Guardian ad Litem representing children in court proceedings. Karen has written widely about and been involved in several research projects that concern children and young people known to social services. In addition to this research project about how social workers communicate with children, Karen is involved in different research projects that are exploring the needs of disabled children in care, the effectiveness of a reading intervention for foster children and the impact of school based nurture groups on young school aged children ‘in need’ or ‘on the edge of care’. Alongside her research and publications, Karen is involved in voluntary work and is a non-executive member of the Board of the Northern Ireland Guardian ad Litem Agency and Chair of the Fostering Network Northern Ireland advisory committee.