Dr. David Williams



Diploma in Applied Social Studies, Dublin Institute of Technology.

B.A Honours in Social Care, Dublin Institute of Technology.

MSc in Child Protection and Welfare, Trinity College Dublin.

Doctor of Social Sciences, University College Cork

Teaching Areas

Principles of Professional Practice, Working with Challenging Behaviour, Social Care Practice Tutor.

Research Interests

Residential Child Care, Foster Care, Self injury and Self harm, the Professionalization of Social Care Work,  The Management of Challenging Behaviour in Social Care Settings.


Irish Association of Social Care Workers

Social Care Ireland

Irish Foster Care Association


Winner of 2009 Dublin Institute of Technology President’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Winner of College of Arts and Tourism Teaching Excellence Award, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2011.

McSweeney, F., & Williams, D. (2018). Social care graduates’ judgements of their readiness and preparedness to practice. Social Work Education. Online First published September, 23, 2018. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2018.1521792.

McSweeney, F. & Williams, D. (2018).  Social care students’ learning in the   practice placement in Ireland. Social Work Education, doi. 10.1080/02615479.2018.1450374.

Williams, D. (2017). Grief, Loss and Separation: Experiences of a Sample of Birth Children of Foster Carers in Ireland. Child and Family Social Work, doi. 10.1111/cfs.12366.

Williams, D. (2017). ‘From Dominance to Periphery: Residential Child Care in the Republic of Ireland’ in T. Isluham and L.Fulcher (Eds.) Residential Child and Youth Care in a Developing World Vol. 4: European Perspectives. CYC.Net Press, 309-325.

Williams, D. & O’ Donoghue, S. (2017). Recognising and supporting the birth children of foster carers: messages from research. Foster, 3, 38-46.   

McSweeney F. & Williams, D. Editorial. Journal of Social Care 1(1), 2-3.

Williams, D. (2016). Recognising Birth Children as Social Actors in the Foster Care Process: Retrospective Accounts from Biological Children of Foster Carers in Ireland. British Journal of Social Work doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcw100.

McSweeney, F., Smith, K. & Williams, D. (guest editors) (2016). Reflections on the provision, organisation and management of social care in Ireland. Administration, 64(2) (special issue).

McSweeney, F., Smith, K. & Williams, D. (2016). Introduction: Reflections on the provision, organisation and management of social care in Ireland. Adminstration, 64(2), 1-6.

Shier, A. & Williams, D.  (2015).  An Evaluation of the use of Problem Based Learning and Film as a Method of Teaching and Assessment for Social Care Students.  The European Journal of Social Education/Journal Européen d’Éducation Sociale 26/27, 8-27.

Williams, D. (2014). Supporting those who Self- injure in Social Care Settings in N. Howard and D. Lyons (eds) in Social Care: Learning from Practice. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 197-209.

Williams, D. & Gilligan. R (2011) November 2011 ‘Self Injury and the Challenges of responding to young people in care’. Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies  11(1), 14-25.


Williams, D & Lalor, K. (2001). ‘The Obstacles to the Professionalisation of Residential   Child Care Workers’ Irish Journal of Applied Social Studies 2(3), 73-90

 Conference Presentations

Views of preparedness to practice in social care  pre- and post – graduation. 12th International Conference on Practice Teaching in Health and Social Work, 11th September 2018 St. John’s College Oxford. (with Fiona McSweeney).

Understanding and Supporting Young People in care who present with behaviours that challenge. Trauma Informed Care Seminar, Dublin City University, 13. April 2018.

Recognising, valuing and supporting the contribution of birth children of foster carers to the care system. Children in Care Research Forum, 5. April 2017, Trinity College Dublin, 

The retrospective experiences of birth children of foster carers in Ireland. Sons and Daughter of Foster Carers Virtual Symposium. 20. February 2017, University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Recognising and Supporting birth children in the fostering process: Messages, Challenges and Opportunities. 15-16. November 2016 Irish Foster Care Association Annual Conference, Carlow (with Sarah O’ Donoghue).

Making the experiences of the emerging practitioner more visible: Social care students’ preparedness and anticipations for practice. 27. April, 2016 FESET Conference, Strasbourg (with Fiona McSweeney).

Recognising the complexity of the transition to practice: Social care students’ anticipations and preparedness for practice.  18th April 2016 Social Care Ireland Conference, Naas, Co. Kildare (with Fiona McSweeney).

Using the sociology of childhood as a theoretical lens to analyse and understand the retrospective experiences of the birth children of foster carer in  Ireland, Children and Childhoods Conference 2015 University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, 14-15. July 2015.

Using Professional Relationships to Support Birth Children living in Foster Families. Social Care Ireland Annual Conference, 24-26 March 2015.

Research Mindedness for Health and Social Care Professionals, Health and Social Care CPD Annual Conference, 22.June 2015 (with Fiona McSweeney).

Experiences of the Foster Care Process in Ireland: Retrospective Accounts from Biological Children of Foster Carers. Children’s Research Network PhD Symposium, 18. August 2014.

The Biological Children of Foster Families: An Exploration of their experiences of inclusion, decision making and support in the foster care system. 25. February 2014 University College Cork Doctoral Symposium,.

Supporting the Birth Children of Foster Carers: Revealing Hidden Voices. Children Research Network Annual Conference, 10th December 2014.

The Use of Problem Based Learning to Help Second Year Social Care Students link theory and practice. January 2012 Dublin Institute of Technology Annual Showcase of Teaching and Learning Innovations.

Using Problem Based Learning to Help Social Care Students’ link theory and practice. February 2011 Social Care Ireland Conference Presentation with (with  Gay Graham).

The challenges for Social care workers in managing incidents of self- injury with young people in their care. Irish Association of Social Care Educators/Irish Association of Social Care Workers Annual Conference, 23-25. February, 2009