Dr Callaghan, an Associate Professor in Psychology and member of the British Psychological Society, has been praised by Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform in the House of Commons for her expert advice.
Dr Callaghan contributed to a review by the Department of Work and Pensions, which led to a change in regulation in November 2014. Lord Freud, who led the review commented: “I should like to mention that I have been ably supported in my considerations of the review findings by two external expert advisers—which is one up from the number recommended by my noble friend Lord German. They are Dr Jane Callaghan from the British Psychological Society and Karina Dancza from the College of Occupational Therapists. I am very grateful to them for their invaluable support.”
The review concluded that there are situations – family bereavement or a child witnessing or being a victim of violence or abuse—where there is compelling evidence that children were very likely to experience a period of acute distress following such an event and where additional support would be required from the parent. In these situations, claimants of Universal Credit should receive the benefit without conditionality; this means that they can continue to draw Universal Credit without having to report in to work coaches, and without evidencing active job-seeking. In addition, the regulation recognises that further tailoring and support may be required by some families beyond the six month period.
Dr Callaghan commented on her involvement in the review: “It has been an interesting experience to see how policy is formed. Working with ministers and with civil servants has been really eye opening. I hope these changes will give children and families experiencing domestic violence or bereavement time to recover and space to focus on family life in these often very difficult circumstances.”
The transcription of the House of Commons debate is available to read online. Dr Callaghan and her work are mentioned in column 724.