Jorge Fernandez del Valle, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Director

Child and Family Research Group – Uni of Oviedo, SP

Research and teaching interests of Dr. Fernández del Valle are focused on the field of child protection, particularly in the quality evaluation of residential and family foster care programs. Professor Del Valle is the director of the Child and Family Research Group (GIFI) at the University of Oviedo whose main aim is knowledge transfer between university research and agencies and authorities developing child welfare services. He has developed more than 60 research projects as consultant/researcher for municipal, Autonomous and national governments of Spain, as well as many NGO agencies developing child welfare services (such as SOS Children’s Villages). He has also participated or directed in national (12 funded by the Spanish Government) and international (5 funded by the European Union) research projects obtained in competitive calls.

His research focuses particularly on programme evaluation in residential and family foster care, as well as needs assessments of particular groups, such as unaccompanied young asylum seekers or children, young people in transition to adulthood from care or children and young people in residential care with behavioural or emotional disorders. As a result of this research activity, he has developed a Recording and Assessment System for Residential Child Care (SERAR) that is implemented in nine Autonomous Communities in Spain (more than 7,000 children in care are permanently evaluated with this instrument). He has also developed a system to evaluate the quality of child residential care facilities, carrying out external evaluations in Spain in Portugal since 1994. In 2012 he has published the National Standards of Quality for Child Residential Care, ordered by the Spanish Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Dr. Del Valle is author/co-author/editor of 15 books and nearly 100 peer review papers and book chapters. He presently serves as Associated Editor of the Spanish journal Psicothema (the oldest journal with JCR impact factor in Spain, currently in the Q1 rank), as well as editorial board of several journals as Child and Family Social Work (UK), Psychosocial Intervention (Spain) and International Journal of Child & Family Welfare (Netherlands).

 During the last decade, Dr. Del Valle has been particularly devoted to the problem of mental health needs of children in care and therapeutic residential care programs. In 2008 he was the director of a research project funded by the Department of Mental Health Services in Extremadura (Spain) to publish a Guide for residential care staff in order to improve detection of mental health disorders of children in residential care, as well as criteria for referrals to therapeutic services. Currently, his group is presenting a national research project about the evaluation of therapeutic residential care programs in Spain.

In March 2015 he has finished an international project funded by the EU about coordination between child residential care services and mental health programs in six European countries:

Timonen-Kallio, E., Pivoriene, J., Smith, M., y Del Valle, J.F. (2015). On the borders between residential child care and mental health treatment in Europe. Turku: Turku University of Applied Sciences.

As a researcher, he belongs to important international groups such as the INTRAC network (research on transitions to independent living from child protection), the International Research Network on Foster Care and the APFEL network for the Promotion of Foster Care in Europe. He is also a member of the steering committee board of EUSARF (European Scientific Association on Residential & Family Care for Children and Adolescents) and he has served as co-convenor with Dr. Whittaker (University of Washington) and Dr. Lisa Holmes (Oxford University) for The International Work Group for Therapeutic Residential Care (TRC) established in April 2016, organizing an international conference for this group in Oviedo (2019) with more than 300 delegates. In 2005 professor Del Valle received the Virgilio Palacios Award from the Regional Government of Asturias for his contribution to the prevention of AIDS-VIH with a research on risk factors in young people in residential care.