Dr Joseph McDowall has a PhD from the University of Queensland in social psychology. He has lectured both there and at Griffith University in the areas of research methods, statistics, social skills and interpersonal interactions, as well as teaching both the theory and practice of Photography. He also has conducted research in the field of empirical aesthetics. Since 2002 he has become involved in child protection and has provided consultancy services to the Queensland government within the out-of-home care sector and for the Recognised Entities.
Dr McDowall’s research (with Ms Jacqui Reed) into how children in foster care perceive “family” won the Child Protection Week Award from the Queensland Government in 2006.
He authored the CREATE 2008 Report Card: Transitioning from Care that marked the beginning of an enduring association with this Foundation. In that year he joined the CREATE Board and is now Executive Director (Research). He has produced follow-up reports in 2009 and 2011 that provided a more comprehensive review of the state of transitioning from care in Australia.
In 2010, Dr McDowall co-authored the solutions paper “What’s the Answer?” that summarised the views of young people regarding what could be done at various levels to improve the transitioning experience. This was published under the auspices of FaHCSIA.
Dr McDowall produced first national survey of life in the Australian out-of-home care system from the perspective of children and young people in 2013, and his report in 2015 drew attention to the issues surrounding the placement of siblings in care.
He is a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences.