Dr Sarah Wise

Dr Sarah Wise

Good Childhood Fellow
University of Melbourne and Berry Street Childhood Institute


Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology and Paediatrics)
Master of Arts (Research) (Criminology)
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)




Dr Sarah Wise is a developmental researcher with many years of research, policy and service innovation experience covering a wide range of issues relating to children, parents and families. Her special interest areas are early childhood development, out-of-home care, local area responses and the development of social policy and practice with evidence.

Sarah completed her PhD through the Departments of Psychology and Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne on the topic of attachment and wellbeing among foster care children.

Sarah has held senior research positions within a Commonwealth Statutory Authority and in the not-for-profit sector. Sarah’s first ongoing research position was at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS), where she remained for 12 years, including eight years as a Principle Research Fellow leading the child development and parenting program area. In 2008 Sarah accepted a senior leadership role at Anglicare Victoria to establish their Policy, Research and Innovation unit and lead the agency’s communications and engagement team.

Sarah has attracted research funding from a range of government and non-government schemes and has an extensive record of publications, including in quality refereed journals relevant to parenting, early childhood services, social work and child development. Sarah’s research has influenced policy and practice decision-making within the child and family service system and has been directly linked to program innovation and new resources to improve the educational outcomes of children and young people in foster care and residential care.

Sarah has considerable media experience and is an outspoken childhood advocate.

Sarah currently holds a joint appointment within the University of Melbourne’s Department of Social Work and the Berry Street Childhood Institute as the inaugural Good Childhood Fellow, where she works to integrate academic research into social systems and programs designed to support vulnerable children.


Berry Street was first established on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respect to their Elders, past and present, and to all the traditional custodians of land throughout Australia.