Associate Professor Helen McLaren

Associate Professor

College of Education, Psychology and Social Work

place Social Science South (337)
GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

My Research (some examples of current and former research):

  • Examining Australia’s first experiences of the Mockingbird FamilyTM model of foster care, incorporating four studies: 1. Professional Quality of Life; 2.Social Network Analysis; 3.Being in a Mockingbird FamilyTM; 4.South Australian Experience
  • Building Multicultural Relations at Adelaide Mosque, Adelaide Mosque Islamic Society of South Australia . Funding from Department of Premier and State, South Australia, Stronger Together Grants. (link to more info)
  • Women's public sector leadership: Learning from what works (Indonesia focus). National competitive funding, Australia-Indonesia Institute Grant Round 2018-19, project in Australia and Indonesia (link to more info)
  • Defining quality of life indicators for measuring perpetrator intervention effectiveness. National competitive funding, Australian National Competitive Grant, ANROWS Perpetrator Interventions Research Priorities 2017-19 (link to more info)
  • Women's & children's protection policy mapping in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. International research collaboration with Public Policy & Administration, and Social Welfare departments, Padjadjaran Universitas, Bandung, West Java, Indonesia (link to more info).


PhD Supervision - In 2020 I was awarded the Vice-Chancellor prise for Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision

Email me if you want to research issues impacting women, children & community: i.e., women's & children's social protection, gender & development, community responsibility, lived experience participatory action research, evolutionary prototyping of intervention programs, quality of life, wellbeing, human rights, etc., Are you seeking a supervisor? Send me your Acacemic Transcripts, CV and Research Proposal.


Prior to joining Flinders University:

  • Researcher, former South Australian Dept. Community Welfare; Australian Centre for Child Protection, UniSA; Ministerial Advisory Committee on Children with a Disability
  • Forensic & psycho-social therapist, Child Protection Services, Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital; Victim Support & Forensic Investigator, rape and sexual assault, SA's Justice Portfolio.

BSocWk (hons)

Honours, awards and grants
  1. 2020, awarded Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in HDR Supervision (+ prize money $5k) in recognition of Higher Degree Research supervision in 2019
  2. 2016, awarded Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning (+prize money $1k, for outstanding contribution in 2015
  3. 2015, appointed as Faculty Scholar in Learning and Teaching (+prize money $10k) to undertake and influence innovation advancements in learning and teaching of strategic importance to the university.
Key responsibilities
  1. Research member of Flinders Institute of Mental Health and Wellbeing

  2. Research member of Open Door Veteran Transition Integration Wellbeing, Flinders University

  3. Professorial Research Fellow, Centre for Decentralization and Participatory Development Research Universitas Padjadjaran (CDPD), West Java Indonesia

  4. International Advisory Member, Asian-African Association for Women, Gender and Sexuality (AAAWGS)

  5. PhD / Higher Degree by Research Coordinator, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work (CEPSW)

  6. Educator in Research Methods, CEPSW.
Teaching interests

I am the:

  • Higer Degrees Research Coordinator, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work.
Topic coordinator
SOAD9999 Higher Degree Thesis (PhD)
Supervisory interests
Child protection
Domestic violence
Foster care
Quality of life
Higher degree by research supervision
Principal supervisor: Ms Amy Bromley - PhD Candidate - Implementation Science: Exploring the process of change within Australian Child Protection Systems, Ms Ashleigh Gallagher - Hons - Women's interpersonal experiences of aborthion services in South Australia, Ms Asma Atkher - PhD Candidate (Psychology) - Resettlement and wellbeing among South Asian immigrant parents and children in Australia, Ms Jinwen Chen - PhD Candidate - Re-thinking Asset-Based Community Development: A feninist and Socio-spatial approach
Associate supervisor: Ms Libby Hammond - PhD Candidate - Mapping Indigenous content and knowledge in Aust & NZ social work curriculum, Ms Mia Mandara - PhD Candidate - An analysis of “Family” in Australian Social Policy: Towards Inclusive Representaiton in Diverse Families
Higher degree by research student achievements
PhD Completion - Dr Kathome (Glory) Gatwiri

Intersectional analysis of women living with Vesico and Recto- Vaginal fistulas in Kenya -

PhD Completion - Dr Eshantha Ariyadassa

Life chances of children and young people in children's homes in Sri Lanka -

PhD Completion - Dr Nismah Qonitah

Child protection social work in Indonesia in children's orphanages, in the contexts of decentralisation and deinstitutionalisation -

Social Work Hons - Ms Casey-Leigh Evans

Pro-ana/Mia, Online spaces as a sanctury for the eating disordered -

Social Work MA - Jeremy Davidson-Tear

Employment and meaningful enterprise of individuals recovering from mental illness -

Social Work Hons - Ms Alicia Reinke

Bordeaux analysis of the self-help kit aimed to support South Australian youth tranitioning from state care to independent life -

PhD Completion - Dr Batkhishig Adilbish

Social work, child protection and protective factors in Mongolia -

PhD Completion - Dr Faraha Nawaz

Microfinance and women's empowerment in Bangladesh -

Social Work GDRM - Ms Mary Awata

Exploring facilitators and barriers to disability service engagement of refugee and asylum seekers -

PhD Completion - Dr Nga Nguyen

Tasting Australia: Vietnamese student parents’ experience of living in limbo - A Janus head analysis -

Women's Studies MA - Ms Cheryl Cagara

Handling economic abuse cases towards a collaborative, comprehensive and gender-sensitive case management in Makati City, Philippines -

Expert for media contact
Gender studies
Mental health
Multicultural wellbeing
Quality of Life
Violence against Women
Women & Childrens Protection
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Media expertise
  • Culture
  • Family
  • Gender studies
  • Mental health
  • Religion
  • Violence
  • Women
  • Multicultural wellbeing
  • Quality of Life
  • SDGs
  • Violence against Women
  • Women & Childrens Protection