Dr Erica Russ

Course Co-ordinator , Social Work - School of Health

Phone: +61 2 6773 1738

Email: eruss@une.edu.au


Dr Erica Russ is the Course Coordinator and Field Education Coordinator for the Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Community Service programs. Erica has extensive industry experience and expertise in social work with a focus on child protection, out of home care, adoption, and youth justice including holding management and senior executive positions, and leading large strategic projects. Erica has worked in the areas of direct practice, service development, grants and funding, program management, operational and strategic policy, and management.

Throughout her industry career, Erica has maintained a strong focus on education and development of social work professionals, and has developed and delivered industry training in the areas of child protection, staff well-being, vicarious trauma, and collaborative practice. She has also undertaken the role of industry liaison for both social work and human services programs and participated as an industry representative in reviews of field education across university and industry. Since taking up her academic career she has taken a key role in course development, course and curricula reviews, and accreditation processes, as well as engaging health and community service sector in collaborative endeavours.

Erica’s PhD research examined the development and maintenance of resilience of child protection staff and factors that inform workforce retention. She continues to hold a strong interest in child protection, and workforce issues.

Teaching Areas

Erica teaches social work at undergraduate and post graduate levels across a number of units. Erica’s teaching interests include Field Education, practice knowledge and skills, rural practice and social policy. Her interests also include issues of social disadvantage in rural and first nations communities, community development, and collaborative practices.

Research Interests

In addition to her doctoral thesis, as an early career researcher, Erica has gained more than $300,000 dollars in research contracts in youth services and participated in a joint child protection project with the “Their Futures Matter’ initiatives and Family and Community Services NSW. She has presented at international conferences, authored a refereed journal article, co-authored a book chapter and a government report. Erica’s research interests include:

  • child protection
  • trauma and resilience
  • workforce issues
  • rural social work

Her doctoral thesis used a qualitative, longitudinal approach and reflective methodologies. to examine the development and maintenance of child protection worker resilience, and implications for workers and workforce retention. Erica’s article on staff resilience was cited by Queensland’s Carmody Inquiry report on the child protection system issues and reforms.


McFadden, P. Russ, E. Blakeman, P. Kirwin, G. Anand, J.  Lähteinen, S. Baugerud, GA, and Tham, P. (In Press). COVID-19 Impact on Social Work Admissions and Education in Seven International Universities. Social Work Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2020.1829582

Lonne, B., Russ, E., Harrison, C., Morley, L., Harries, M., Robertson, S., Pearce, T., & Smith, J. (In Press) The Front Door to Child Protection – Issues and Innovations. International Journal on Child Maltreatment. DOI: 10.1007/s42448-020-00051-9

Russ, E., Lonne, B., & Lynch, D. (In Press). Increasing child protection workforce retention through promoting a relational-reflective framework for resilience. Child Abuse & Neglect, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.104245

Russ, E., Lonne, B., & Darlington, Y. (2009). Using resilience to reconceptualise child protection workforce capacity. Australian Social Work, 62(3), 324-338.

Lonne, B., Harries, M., Boyle, C., Harrison, C., Morley, L., Pearce, T., Robertson, S., Russ, E., & Smith, J. (2018). Report for the Department of Family and Community Services ‘Their Futures Matter’ Access System Redesign. Triage and Assessment Tools – “Accessing help through the front door”. Armidale, NSW: School of Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of New England.

Buckley, H., McArthur, M., Moore, T., Russ, E., and Witherington, T. (In Press). Stakeholder’s experience of the forensic child protection paradigm. In B. Lonne, D. Sccott, D. Higgins and T. Herrenkohl (Eds). Visioning Public Health Approaches for Protecting Children. New York: Springer