Journal Call for Papers

Special Issue – Call for papers is closed, check for the special issue in 2022

Changing Social Welfare Provisions and Shifting Family Dynamics: Promising Practices, Tensions and Contradictions within a Contemporary Context.

Fifteen years ago, the Journal on Developmental Disabilities published its first full issue (Condillac, 2004) focused on the experiences of families supporting children, youth and adult family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since that initial special issue, changing social welfare provisions continue to influence the everyday caring experiences of families. Unsurprisingly, a one- size-fits-all policy or service program might not be responsive to caregiving families, who exist in all of their constellations and forms, and who present for services with diverse experiences and needs.

Over the last fifteen years, scholars, practitioners and self-advocates have furthered understandings of how socio-political and economic conditions pose specific challenges for these families. While traditional family compositions are often privileged in research, policy and service programs, a heterogeneity of family arrangements exist that are less represented and for whom existing programs and policies might not fit. For example, retired grandparents support working parents or offer respite care in families with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, emerging post-parental support models include siblings and community members who take on the care and support responsibilities of aging people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While programs and services may not be suitable for non-traditional family caregiving compositions, other particular populations experience enduring and cross-cutting inequalities. Colonial legacies of federal-provincial jurisdictional issues continue to negatively impact Indigenous families’ access to formal support (King 2012) resulting in detrimental health and social outcomes (Gosek, Wright & Hiebert-Murphy, 2007).  Global and environmental trends impact newcomer or asylum seeking families with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities who might be perceived as burdensome,deemed inadmissible, and returned to countries at the expense of familial wellbeing (El-Lahib & Wehbi, 2012; Spagnuolo, 2016). Investigating and understanding these social issues is critical, particularly when more formal, financial and instrumental care supports are sparse.

In this special issue of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities, we welcome contributions that consider the influence of changing social welfare provisions on the lives of children, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. We especially welcome papers that illuminate contemporary issues, tensions and contradictions affecting current family and caregiving dynamics. Specifically, we are seeking contributions from scholars and self-advocates which further understandings of diverse caregiving arrangements, experiences of caregiving and promising programs and services that can support families. We welcome empirical research and conceptual contributions, as well as other expressive modes such as poetry or art submissions that center and interrogate notions of family and caregiving in all their forms.

We invite bilingual (French or English) submissions that focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • The influence of shifting socio-political-cultural-economic conditions, including social welfare provisions, on families and their experiences of caregiving
  • Contributions furthering understandings of care and/or family within a contemporary context
  • Experiences of diverse families including ethnoculturally diverse families, Indigenous families and LGBTQ2S+ families supporting family members with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the lifespan
  • The role of support persons, including mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, chosen family and other kin, in care and support provision for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • The role of family networks and community supports in promoting social participation, and fostering social inclusion and belonging of children, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (i.e. social innovation, entrepreneurship and management of direct funding models)
  • The role of responsive advocacy, and promising interdisciplinary programs and services supporting familial caregiving including families headed by persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Interested authors should send a 200-word abstract to by: September 15, 2020

Please include:

  1. Author’s (or authors’) name, position and affiliation if applicable, and short biography (50-100 words)
  2. Title and publication type (paper and/or creative intervention)

First drafts of full papers (3000 words) are due by: April 30, 2021 

Please see JoDD general guidelines for submission related information.

For more information please contact Anna Przednowek ( ) or  Aline Bogossian ( )


Condillac, R. (2004). Editorial. Special Issue on Families of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Journal on Developmental Disabilities 11 (1) p.vii.  

Retrieved from

Gosek, G., Wright, A., & Hiebert-Murphy, D. (2007). Supporting Aboriginal Children and Youth with Learning and Behavioural Disabilities in the Care of Aboriginal ChildWelfare Agencies. Putting a Human Face on Child Welfare: Voices from the Prairies, 147-160.

King, J. (2012). “But how could anyone rationalize policies that discriminate? : Understanding Canada’s Failure to Implement Jordan’s Principle. First Peoples Child & Family Review: An Interdisciplinary Journal Honouring the Voices, Perspectives, and Knowledges of First Peoples through Research, Critical Analyses, Stories, Standpoints and Media Reviews, 7(1), 29-39

Spagnuolo, N. (2016). The Medical Inadmissibility of Intellectual Disability: A Postcolonial Reading of Canadian Immigration Practices. Disability and the Global South, 3(2), 1000-1021.

El-Lahib, Y., & Wehbi, S. (2012). Immigration and disability: Ableism in the policies of the Canadian state. International Social Work, 55(1), 95-108.