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Call for papers (closed 2nd May)

About this conference series

The 9th National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference will take place online on the 27th of October 2023. This conference is a not-for-profit partnership between frontline child protection and welfare staff in TUSLA, the Irish Association of Social Workers, and University College Cork (@UCCsocialwork, School of Applied Social Studies). Click here to find out more about the conference.

About SWCONF23

Child protection and welfare social work in Ireland is a constantly evolving field of professional practice with rapid changes in policy, practice, legislation and statutory systems.  Child protection and welfare social workers collaborate with professionals, services and representative groups to identify and promote the welfare of children and families, and to enhance social justice. Ireland is incrementally becoming a better place for children to live, but there is more to do to ensure that all children have a positive, safe and healthy childhood.

The theme of the 9th national conference, SWCONF23 is: Child protection and children's rights: learning, achievements, and where to next? What practice and research innovations can revitalise the profession, and communities of practitioners and services involved in protecting children? Taking into account contemporary challenges and opportunities, how can we continue to be hopeful? How can we enhance positive experiences and outcomes for the children with whom we work?

Invitation to submit (deadline 2/5/23)

The conference committee invites experts by experience, practitioners, academics, researchers, managers, representative groups, policy-makers, community groups, and social commentators to submit on the theme for this conference. The conference is open to all disciplines and services. We especially welcome papers from practitioners that reflect upon challenges and innovations arising in everyday practice in child protection and welfare. Abstracts must explicitly address the conference theme. Click here for the SWCONF23 call for papers poster.

Presentation formats

Oral Papers: The conference committee is inviting abstracts which can be presented in the form of an oral paper. The duration of the oral paper presentation is 15 minutes + 5 mins for questions, and can relate to practice, experiences of using the child protection system, research, education, system development, technologies, advocacy, and policy issues relevant to the conference theme. Time will be allowed for audience discussion in the session. Papers will be face-to-face at UCC – online presentations cannot be facilitated.

Symposia: The conference committee is also inviting proposals for symposia. We have limited capacity to host symposia, therefore a very strong rationale will need to be presented as to why a symposium is required rather than an oral paper. The symposia will take place over a 90-minute period and the committee is open to all proposals, including; debates, research data-collection, practice skills sessions, development of position papers on topics and so on. Presenters are expected to structure the symposia to allow for audience participation and input. Please submit one summary abstract per symposium on the abstract submission site. Symposium organisers should also email a more detailed proposal to the Scientific Committee Chairperson Caroline Shore ( with more information on contributors, the rationale for the symposium, details on the format and structure of the symposium, the link between the symposium topic and the conference theme, an abstract for each paper if there are more than one, and a description of how delegate participation will be encouraged. Symposia will be face-to-face at UCC – online presentations cannot be facilitated.

All symposia abstracts should include a summary of the background and rationale specific to the conference theme, and implications for practice. If you intend to present research, please include a brief summary of methodology, findings and conclusions.

National Child Protection and Welfare Social Work Conference