Special edition of Adoption & Fostering – March 2022

The impact of social and digital media on child and family social work


This special edition of Adoption & Fostering has been commissioned to review the changes in childhoods, child care and children’s social work practice brought about by the radical developments in social and digital media over the past decades and the effects of the unprecedented shift resulting from government policies to address the global Covid-19 pandemic. It will bring together interdisciplinary studies to better understand and respond to the opportunities and challenges created by these transformations.

We welcome submissions that discuss them from a theoretical, conceptual or empirical standpoint as they relate to children, young people, their parents and carers. In particular, we welcome articles which position and articulate the issues from a children’s rights perspective as this illustrates how dominant conceptions of children and childhood have been altered and disrupted through their life online, and how children are often more digitally competent than they are given credit for.


  • How has digital technology changed the landscape in social work practice with children and families, in particular with regard to adoption and fostering?
  • Which digital practices have been developed during the pandemic and post-pandemic periods and which of them will continue and expand as they have proven to be useful and add value?
  • How have digital technologies affected children's participation in decisions regarding their lives, their care arrangements, their experiences of education and their access to digital resources?
  • What are the implications of the large increase in screen time for children and young people’s learning, social relationships, well-being and development?
  • What are the opportunities and risks in developing digital approaches to practice, with particular reference to life story work, contact with birth family and friends, court proceedings and child participation?
  • What are the ethical considerations around consent, privacy, confidentiality and surveillance as they relate to children and young people who are looked after?


Please direct inquiries and/or send abstracts by December 31st to Joanne Westwood, Professor of Social Work Education at or send to: 

Head of School of Social Work Care and Community
University of Central Lancashire