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Mrs Dinithi Nisanka WijedasaB.A [Hons], M.Sc.

Lecturer

Research interests

Dinithi is a Lecturer at the Children and Families Research Centre within the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol. Dinithi has a background in developmental psychology, secondary data analyses and statistics. Prior to joining the University of Bristol in 2007, Dinithi was invited by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health of the Government of Sri Lanka to lead a study to adapt and standardise a developmental screening test, which established the first ever standardised developmental milestones for Sri Lankan children aged 0-6 years in Sri Lanka.

In just over 12 years, she has been involved in 13 research studies on children living in out-of-home care placements and led studies worth over 1.2 million pounds in the capacity of principal investigator or co-Investigator. Eight of these studies have used administrative data analyses as a methodology.

Dinithi has extensive experience of conducting research on children living in out-of-home care placements and of management and analyses of large datasets including Census microdata, longitudinal survey data  and longitudinal national administrative data on children in care. She is one of the first academic researchers in the UK to be given access to all national-level, longitudinal administrative datasets on children in care, held by the Department for Education and the Welsh Government. Dinithi is an ONS approved researcher and a previous recipient of an ESRC Future Research Leaders Award.

Dinithi is currently leading two studies on mental health of children in State care in England.

Study 1: Long-term trajectories of mental health of children in State care in England
Study period: 2019-2022 (3 years)
Research lead: Wijedasa, D.
Status: Funded by the ESRC

The main aim of this study is to establish the longitudinal mental health trajectories of children in care. This research will:

  1. Establish long-term trajectories of mental health of children in State care in England;
  2. Explore whether there are differences in mental health trajectories for specific  groups of children in care;
  3. Explore how care experiences, individual factors and school-related factors influence mental health of children in care over time.

This will be done through analyses of longitudinal national administrative data on children in care, supplemented with data from a survey of children in care in 15 local authorities.

Study 2: Using linked administrative data to explore mental health service provision for children in State care in England

Study period: 2020-2021 (2 years)
Research leads: Wijedasa, D., Macleod, J. & Boyd, A.
Status: Funded by the Nuffield Foundation

The main aim of this study, which will be carried out in collaboration with the ALSPAC data linkage team at the Bristol Medical School, is to create a new national level dataset linking national administrative data on children in State care with the national Mental Health Services Dataset (MHSDS) and the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) held by the NHS. This linkage would allow us to map children’s pathways in and out of Hospitals and Mental Health Services to provide a holistic picture of mental health service access and provision for children in care in England.

 

 

 

Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Families and Parenting

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Postal address:
Social Science Complex
8 Priory Road
Bristol
United Kingdom