Associate Professor Amy Wright

MSW, PhD
Associate Professor
Director, Institute of Open Adoption Studies

A35 - Education Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone 0286276119

Website LinkedIn
Institute for Open Adoption Studies
Google Scholar

Biographical details

Amy Conley Wright is Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of the Institute of Open Adoption Studies at University of Sydney, Australia. Her teaching, research, and practice experiences are in the areas of child advocacy, child and family policy, family support, and child maltreatment prevention, within Australia and internationally. Her research has been recognized by awards including the Society for Social Work Doctoral Dissertation Fellow Award and has been featured in journals including Policy Studies Journal, International Journal of Social Welfare, Journal of Social Services Research, andChildren and Youth Services Review. She is co-author of Six Steps to Successful Child Advocacy: Changing the World for Children (Sage Publications, 2013) and co-editor of Developmental Social Work: Investment Strategies and Professional Practice (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Social Investment and Social Welfare: International and Critical Perspectives (Edward Elgar Press, 2017).

Amy received a B.A. in Child Development and Public Policy from Boston University and a Masters and PhD in Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley. From 2000-2001, she was the director of Romanian Children’s Relief, where she managed three programs that promoted children’s healthy development in orphanage and hospital settings. During her tenure, she lead the effort to design and implement a foster care support program for children transitioning from institutional care to family foster care, a program that has been recognized by the government of Romania as a best practice in foster care. Previously, she was an assistant professor of child and adolescent development at San Francisco State University, where she led the Policy, Advocacy and Systems concentration. Most recently, as Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Member of the Early Start Research Institute at the University of Wollongong, she had a leadership role in developing a new bachelor of social work program and the social inclusion theme of the Early Start Research Institute.

Recent research projects have included designing, implementing and evaluating an advocacy training and peer support program for parents of children with disabilities (with CareSouth and Noah’s Inclusion Services) and a family-centred practice model in early childhood education and care settings (with Big Fat Smile). She has served as a board member of International Child Resource Institute, an advisory board member of Romanian Children’s Relief and Tipping Point Foundation, and has provided consulting on child and family services for a number of organisations, including San Francisco Head Start, San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Ministry of Education for Brunei Darussalam.

Research interests

The Institute for Open Adoption Studies aims to facilitate a robust research program that will drive the creation of a comprehensive evidence base to inform the policies and practices for the adoption and out-of-home care sector, the judiciary, and government.

Our research agenda targets three specific areas of enquiry:

1. Family engagement and support

2. Open adoption practice enablers and barriers

3. Court and judiciary role and functions

Teaching and supervision

Interested in supervising HDR students who would like to study permanency, adoption, attachment, out-of-home care, working with birth parents, social work and judicial processes and other topics pertinent to the Institute of Open Adoption Studies.

Current projects

-Foster carers perspectives on open adoption - A focus group study

-Strong children, strong families: Building protective factors for children, families and educators in early childhood education & care (with Professor Iram Siraj and PhD candidate Toni Latham, University of Wollongong)

Associations

Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth

Awards and honours

California State University Quality Online Learning and Teaching Award, 2013

Presidential Award for Professional Development of Probationary Faculty, San Francisco State University, 2012

Society for Social Work Research Doctoral Dissertation Fellow Award, 2007

Influencing Social Policy Doctoral Dissertation Award, 2006

In the media

2016, 2 August. Where kids do it tough, educators ease the strain. Early Learning Review. https://www.earlylearningreview.com.au/where-kids-do-it-tough-educators-ease-the-strain/

2016, 6 July. How do I navigate the NDIS? Live national radio interview. Radio National Life Matters. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/how-do-i-navigate-the-ndis/7571324

2016, 28 June. UOW helps parents prepare for the NDIS. http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/3996250/uow-helps-parents-prepare-for-the-ndis/?cs=300

2015, 3 September.How the hell can you stop a potty mouth? Live interview, Radio National Drive.http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/is-it-possible-to-stop-your-child-from-swearing/6743996

Institute for Open Adoption Studies:

http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/research/centres_and_networks/IOAS/index.shtml

Selected grants

2017

  • Measuring social investment for children in different child welfare permanency pathways: a scoping study; Wright A, Schurer S, Harmon C, Cashmore J, Zhou Q, Cobb-Clark D; DVC Research/Sydney Policy Lab.
  • Strong children, strong families: Building protective factors for children, families and educators in early childhood education & care; Wright A, Siraj I; Big Fat Smile Group/Industry Grant.

2016

  • Establishing an Institute of Open Adoption Studies at Sydney University; Wright A, Baines D; Department of Family and Community Services (NSW)/Research Support.

2015

  • The Parent Room: Empowering parents and carers of children with disabilities through a peer support and advocacy intervention; Wright A; CareSouth/Commercial Grant.

2014

  • Starting strong: Making children resilient in early childhood; Wright A, Siraj I; Big Fat Smile Group/Industry and University Grant.

Selected publications & creative works

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Books

  • Wright, A., Jaffe, K. (2014). Six steps to successful child advocacy: Changing the world for children. London: Sage Publications Ltd. [More Information]

Edited Books

  • Midgley, J., Dahl, E., Wright, A. (2017). Social investment and social welfare: International and critical perspectives. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Midgley, J., Wright, A. (2010). Social work and social development: Theories and skills for developmental social work. New York: Oxford University Press.

Book Chapters

  • Wright, A. (2017). Social investment in early childhood in Australia. In J. Midgley, E. Dahl & A. C. Wright (Eds.), Social investment and social welfare: International and critical perspectives, (pp. 33-51). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Wright, A. (2015). International perspectives on social work and social development: Strategies for developmental social work. Developmental social work: Theory and practice. Taipei, Taiwan: Eden Social Welfare Foundation.

Journals

  • Gen, S., Wright, A. (2016). Strategies of Policy Advocacy Organizations and Their Theoretical Affinities: Evidence from Q-Methodology. Policy Studies Journal, In Press, 1-29. [More Information]
  • Gen, S., Wright, A. (2015). Policy capacity is necessary but not sufficient: Comment on "Health reform requires policy capacity". International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 4(12), 837-839. [More Information]
  • Wright, A. (2015). Powerful parenting and enabling contexts: lessons to support academic success. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 23(2), 323-329. [More Information]
  • Wright, A., Taylor, S. (2014). Advocacy by Parents of Young Children With Special Needs: Activities, Processes, and Perceived Effectiveness. Journal of Social Service Research, 40(5), 591-605. [More Information]
  • Wright, A., Lamsal, D., Ksetree, M., Sharma, A., Jaffe, K. (2014). From maid to mother: Transforming facilities, staff training, and caregiver dignity in an institutional facility for young children in Nepal. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(2), 132-143. [More Information]
  • Gen, S., Wright, A. (2013). Policy Advocacy Organizations: A Framework Linking Theory and Practice. Journal of Policy Practice, 12(3), 163-193. [More Information]
  • Wright, A. (2013). Teaching about diverse families through case studies and authentic performance assessment. Family Science Review, 18(1), 134-154. [More Information]

Research Reports

  • de Rosnay, M., Luu, B., Wright, A. (2016). Young children's identity formation in the context of open adoption in NSW: An examination of optimal conditions for child wellbeing, Australia: The University of Sydney. [More Information]

2017

  • Midgley, J., Dahl, E., Wright, A. (2017). Social investment and social welfare: International and critical perspectives. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Wright, A. (2017). Social investment in early childhood in Australia. In J. Midgley, E. Dahl & A. C. Wright (Eds.), Social investment and social welfare: International and critical perspectives, (pp. 33-51). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

2016

  • Gen, S., Wright, A. (2016). Strategies of Policy Advocacy Organizations and Their Theoretical Affinities: Evidence from Q-Methodology. Policy Studies Journal, In Press, 1-29. [More Information]
  • de Rosnay, M., Luu, B., Wright, A. (2016). Young children's identity formation in the context of open adoption in NSW: An examination of optimal conditions for child wellbeing, Australia: The University of Sydney. [More Information]

2015

  • Wright, A. (2015). International perspectives on social work and social development: Strategies for developmental social work. Developmental social work: Theory and practice. Taipei, Taiwan: Eden Social Welfare Foundation.
  • Gen, S., Wright, A. (2015). Policy capacity is necessary but not sufficient: Comment on "Health reform requires policy capacity". International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 4(12), 837-839. [More Information]
  • Wright, A. (2015). Powerful parenting and enabling contexts: lessons to support academic success. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 23(2), 323-329. [More Information]

2014

  • Wright, A., Taylor, S. (2014). Advocacy by Parents of Young Children With Special Needs: Activities, Processes, and Perceived Effectiveness. Journal of Social Service Research, 40(5), 591-605. [More Information]
  • Wright, A., Lamsal, D., Ksetree, M., Sharma, A., Jaffe, K. (2014). From maid to mother: Transforming facilities, staff training, and caregiver dignity in an institutional facility for young children in Nepal. Infant Mental Health Journal, 35(2), 132-143. [More Information]
  • Wright, A., Jaffe, K. (2014). Six steps to successful child advocacy: Changing the world for children. London: Sage Publications Ltd. [More Information]

2013

  • Gen, S., Wright, A. (2013). Policy Advocacy Organizations: A Framework Linking Theory and Practice. Journal of Policy Practice, 12(3), 163-193. [More Information]
  • Wright, A. (2013). Teaching about diverse families through case studies and authentic performance assessment. Family Science Review, 18(1), 134-154. [More Information]

2010

  • Midgley, J., Wright, A. (2010). Social work and social development: Theories and skills for developmental social work. New York: Oxford University Press.

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