Our People

Dr Marilyn McHugh

Research Fellow
Social Policy Research Centre


+61 2 9385 7829
+61 2 9385 7838
Room 201, Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Social Policy

Dr Marilyn McHugh (BSW Syd. PhD UNSW) has a long-standing involvement in qualitative and quantitative research with families and children. Her recent research projects have focused on child welfare areas specifically foster and kinship care and early intervention programs for vulnerable families (Brighter Futures and Keeping Them Safe). Her research on foster care began with a two-year study (2000-2002), examining the costs of caring: ‘A study of Appropriate Foster Care Payments for Stable and Adequate Out-of-Home Care in Australia’. The publication of the report resulted in numerous presentations on the findings of the estimates of the costs of fostered children at conferences/seminars and departmental meetings/seminars in Australia, New Zealand and the UK and the publication of several journal articles. A number of the report’s recommendations in relation to improving financial support for carers have been implemented.

From 2002-2009 she has made a significant contribution in the field of foster and kinship care and social policy, including key note addresses at specialist conferences, other conference presentations (national and international) and seminars and referred and non-referred articles. Her most recent projects include the following studies:
• Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (2011) (with kylie valentine) Financial & Non-Financial Support to Formal & Informal Out-of-Home Carers;
• Aboriginal Child, Family and Community Care State Secretariat (AbSec) (2012) (with kylie valentine) Evaluation of the Agency Service Provision Outputs for the Aboriginal Capacity Building Out-of-Home Care/Family Preservation Model;
• Berry Street Victoria (2012) (with Anita Pell) Foster Care Integrated Funding Model.



Marilyn McHugh gained a BSW (first class honours) from Sydney University and a PhD from UNSW. She has conducted numerous research studies, with foster and kinship carers, for state and national government departments and for non-government agencies.

Her most recent projects include:

  1.  Projected Downstream Savings to Government: Foster Care Integrated Model (2013) for Berry Street, Victoria;
  2. (with A. Pell) Foster Care Integrated Funding Model (2013); for Berry Street, Victoria
  3. An Exploratory Study of Stability in Foster & Kinship Care in NSW (2013) SPRC, UNSW; and, 
  4. (with Brennan, D., Cass, B., Flaxman, S., Hill, T., Jenkins, B., Purcal, C. & valentine, k.) Grandparents raising grandchildren: Towards recognition, respect and reward (2013) SPRC, UNSW.

Marilyn is the Patron of the Australian Foster and Kinship Carer Partnership and is a member of Reference/Working Groups related to projects on OOHC and budget standards research. She has been a keynote speaker and presenter at numerous national and international Conferences/Forums.



HDR Supervision: Child protection, children's' services, foster care costs and kinship care. Marilyn McHugh is currently co-supervising Timothy Broady with Professor Katz.

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