Andrew is a Qualified Social Worker and Lecturer in the School of Social Work, undertaking his PhD. Before qualifying, he worked in both residential and home based care in a number of settings. After qualifying as a Social Worker in 2003, Andrew worked primarily with children and families for a large Local Authority. He became a Senior Practitioner in 2005 and obtained the Child Care Award in 2006. Currently he is an Academic Advisor and undertakes teaching on both the BA and MA Social Work courses. Andrew's main teaching responsibilities involve facilitating seminars on Child Observation, Relationship Based Practice and Human Growth and Behaviour.
Key Research Interests and Expertise
Andrew’s main research area is children and young people who enter the care of Local Authorities. In particular the experiences of children and young people, alongside the impact of complex families and co-parenting.
Staying in touch: the use of social media by young people in care
Social media is increasingly a part of everyday life and has rapidly grown to become one of the most popular means to communicate in an almost instantaneous unmediated way. In general, there is an increasing understanding of the role and significance that social media plays in modern society. For example benefits such as the ability to contact friends and conduct social lives and risks such as those involving privacy, cyber bullying, sexting and possible grooming.
However at present, very little is known about the use of social media by young people in care. Does their unique situation and vulnerability influence the use of social media? Is unmediated birth family contact taking place on social media? Could social media help young people in care maintain relationships when they move placement? Therefore this project, funded by the University of East Anglia and supervised by Professor Beth Neil, aims to gain an understanding of young people in care and their use of social media. It is hoping to answer the folloiwng questions:
Who are the important people for young people in care and how do they stay in touch?
If young people in care use social media, how do they and why?
How do young people in care experience the use of social media?
Do differences between young people in care relate to their experiences of social media?
In partnership with two local authorities the project involves:
- An online survey for all young people in care aged between 11 and 18
- 25 Interviews with young people in care aged between 11 and 18
- 2 focus groups involving foster carers
- 3 focus groups involving social care workers
The project is currently being finalised and a report of the key findings will be available here shortly after completion (Winter 2017).