Doctor Kelly Baird

Doctor Kelly Baird

Research Fellow,
School of Nursing and Midwifery


Dr Kelly Baird is a Research Fellow in the Translational Research and Social Innovation group, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Sydney University. Kelly takes a collaborative, applied and community embedded approach to research, partnering with organisations delivering support services to children, young people and families experiencing adversity. She has a particular research interest in addressing the service and support needs of those within our communities who are most vulnerable, and is a passionate advocate of child voice research and the use of participatory research methods.

Kelly was awarded her PhD in 2015. Her doctoral research examined young children’s experiences of program participation and family life during involvement in an intensive, therapeutic, attachment-based parenting support program. Before commencing her PhD, Kelly worked in the non-government sector in both direct service work and research. 

Kelly's research interests include: 

  • Service and support needs of children, young people and families
  • Participatory research methods, particularly with children and young people 

Kelly has experience in mixed methods research, qualitative methodologies, and effectiveness trials. 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Baird.


  • PhD Macquarie University


  • Children and families experiencing adversity
  • Child- and youth-led research / child voice
  • Participatory research
  • Social isolation
  • Structured social relationships
  • Volunteerism

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • School of Nursing and Midwifery


Phone: (02) 8738 9380
Location: OFF
Off Campus

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Journal Articles

  • Bonakdar Tehrani, M., Kemp, L. and Baird, K. (2022), 'Culturally and linguistically diverse mothers accessing public health nursing : a narrative review', Public Health Nursing, vol 39, no 1 , pp 82 - 88.
  • Bonakdar Tehrani, M., Kemp, L. and Baird, K. (2022), 'Sustained nurse home-visiting with culturally and linguistically diverse families : Australian nurses' perspectives', Public Health Nursing, vol 39, no 1 , pp 40 - 47.
  • Baird, K. and Grace, R. (2021), 'Young children's perspectives on their social interactions within early childhood settings', Early Child Development and Care, vol 191, no 11 , pp 1669 - 1683.
  • Grace, R., Knight, J., Baird, K., Ng, J., Shier, H., Wise, S., Fattore, T., McClean, T., Bonser, G., Judd-Lam, S. and Kemp, L. (2019), 'Where are the silences? : a scoping review of child participatory research literature in the context of the Australian service system', Children Australia, vol 44, no 4 , pp 172 - 186.
  • Grace, R., Baird, K., Elcombe, E., Webster, V., Barnes, J. and Kemp, L. (2019), 'Effectiveness of the Volunteer Family Connect Program in reducing isolation of vulnerable families and supporting their parenting : randomized controlled trial with intention-to-treat analysis of primary outcome variables', JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting, vol 2, no 2 .
  • Grace, R., Kemp, L., Barnes, J., Elcombe, E., Knight, J., Baird, K., Webster, V. and Byrne, F. (2018), 'Community volunteer support for families with young children : protocol for the Volunteer Family Connect randomized controlled trial', JMIR Research Protocols, vol 7, no 7 .
  • Grace, R., Walsh, R. and Baird, K. (2018), 'Connection, special objects and congruence : the perspectives of young children from disadvantaged communities on participation in early childhood education settings', Early Child Development and Care, vol 188, no 8 , pp 1176 - 1189.
  • Baird, K. and Grace, R. (2017), 'Do young children perceive change in the daily lives of their families during participation in a therapeutic family support programme?', European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, vol 25, no 2 , pp 258 - 271.
  • Van Der Wal, J., Grace, R. and Baird, K. (2017), 'It takes more than 'just scratching the surface' : the perspectives of young people on living in a disadvantaged community', Children Australia, vol 42, no 4 , pp 256 - 267.
  • Baird, K. (2013), 'Exploring a methodology with young children : reflections on using the Mosaic and Ecocultural approaches', Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol 38, no 1 , pp 35 - 40.

Kelly's research focuses on supporting development and implementation of best practice models for working with those in our communities who are marginalised or experiencing disadvantage. Kelly has a particular focus on addressing the support and service needs of children, young people and families. Examples of this research work are provided below.    

Volunteer Family Connect (VFC)

Kelly is involved in the Volunteer Family Connect project (led by Associate Professor Rebekah Grace - Director, Transforming early Education and Child Health) exploring the important role of structured social relationship models in fostering social connectedness for those most likely to experience social isolation, including families with young children. This project is in partnership with three leading non government organisations, the Benevolent Society, Karitane and Save the Children. Kelly managed the large multi-site randomised controlled trial of the structured social relationship model, Volunteer Family Connect (a volunteer home visiting program) across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. The trial demonstrated the effectiveness of the model with participating parents showing significantly improved parenting confidence, optimism for the future and wellbeing. Currently, this model is being tested with other cohorts experiencing social isolation, including older adults and refugees. 

Reconceptualising Services from the Perspectives of Experienced Children and Teens (ReSPECT)

Kelly is currently involved in a new program of work centred on participatory research with young people in South Western Sydney who have extensive experience of service systems. This project aims to contribute to debate on the need for service reform, from the perspectives of vulnerable young people whose voices have been missing. It employs a participatory approach, engaging young people in re-envisioning the service system and in developing and trialling youth-led service initiatives. It also explores organisational barriers to including young people in policy debate and service decision-making. Expected outcomes include increased knowledge of how to effectively engage young people, and understanding of the impact of their participation both for young people and for services. This project is in partnership with Macquarie University, University of Melbourne, Uniting, Carers NSW, and Winangay. 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Baird.

Previous Projects

Title: Expansion of VFC in East Gippsland
  • Save the Children Australia
Western Researchers: Rebekah Grace and Kelly Baird
Years: 2021-04-26 - 2021-06-30
ID: P00027394
Title: Supporting the Wellbeing, Development and Healing of Children who Experience Bereavement
  • Feel the Magic
Western Researchers: Cathy Kaplun, Rebekah Grace and Kelly Baird
Years: 2021-10-11 - 2022-07-29
ID: P00027587
Title: Volunteer Family Connect Impact and Support
  • The Benevolent Society
Western Researchers: Rebekah Grace and Kelly Baird
Years: 2021-10-25 - 2022-06-30
ID: P00027603
Title: Our Place 'Mirrung': The Ashcroft Wellbeing Hub
  • Council of Social Service of NSW
Western Researchers: Rebekah Grace, Gabrielle Drake, Christine Woodrow, Christine Johnston, Teddy Nagaddya, Kelly Baird and Cathy Kaplun
Years: 2022-03-07 - 2022-06-30
ID: P00027871
Title: VFC roll-out to Early Childhood Early Intervention Families
  • The Benevolent Society
Western Researchers: Rebekah Grace and Kelly Baird
Years: 2020-08-03 - 2021-12-17
ID: P00026690


Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Child Voice Mechanisms for Children at Risk in NSW
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Sustained Nurse Home Visiting in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families with Limited English Proficiency in Sydney
Field of Research:


Title: Fostering Connection for Isolated Families
Description: Open Forum article arguing for the important role of structured social relationships in supporting social connectedness for families with young children experiencing social isolation.

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