Mike is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at the University of York. A qualified social worker, he has worked as a probation officer, a senior child care officer and a manager of social work services. From 1975 at Leeds University and then from 1995 at York University he has been researching the problems faced by vulnerable young people, including care leavers, young people missing from home and care, and neglected and maltreated youth.
His recent research and publications include: international leaving care policy and practice; theorising transitions from care; maltreated and neglected adolescents; and the history of the rights movement of young people in care. He acted as an academic advisor to the DFE Quality Protects research programme and is a research consultant to leaving care projects funded under the DFE innovation programme. He is a founder member of the International Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood from Care (INTRAC).
He has been involved in the preparation of Guidance for Leaving Care legislation in the UK (the Children Act 1989; the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and Planning Transition to Adulthood for Care Leavers, 2010) and consulted internationally on leaving care services; been an adviser to the development of the rights movement for young people in care in England; and been a member of the Laming Review, Keeping Children in Care Out of Trouble.