We Can Connect: Imagining the Future of Digital Practice with and by Care Experienced Children and Young People

Larkins, Cath orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2999-6916, Crook, Deborah orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-1852-1130, O'riordan, Zoe orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8083-2648, Casey, Helen, Froggett, Lynn orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8406-6231, Karolina, Ismail and Farrelly, Nicola orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9006-335X (2023) We Can Connect: Imagining the Future of Digital Practice with and by Care Experienced Children and Young People. Adoption & Fostering, 47 (3). pp. 326-346. ISSN 0308-5759

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/03085759231199775


A participatory study with care experienced children and young people identified longstanding problems in social work with children and recommended service improvements. The authors reflected on a digital resource cocreated by this study and speculated on future digital adaptations in order to identify principles and challenges that might guide further evaluations of digital innovations. This approach was inspired by Haraway’s (1986) call to imagine cybogification in order to break from dominant thinking whilst being cautious of how power operates in human-machine conjunctures.
The imagined digital adaptations focus on connecting to people and places, leisure, education, accommodation, journey planning through care and systems accountability. Imagining cyborgification highlighted how digital adaptations are embedded in, and not a substitute for, trusting relationships. Adaptations must be codeveloped by intergenerational groups of children and professionals. Bourdieu’s notion of habitus, field and capitals could guide theoretically informed feasibility testing, drawing attention to distributions of resources. A key question is how and when digital adaptations can challenge the dominant habits and politics of social care; strengthen of deep relationships; and secure social, cultural and economic capital in the hands of young experts and their adult allies, so that systems can redressing inequalities and promote accountability.

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