Promising Practices in Social Media

With the increased use of social media in child welfare, promising practices have begun to emerge. These resources offer information on the different technology platforms available and promising practices for using that technology, including examples from the field.

Effective, Research-Based Use of Social Media: Enhancing the Reach and Outcomes of Child Welfare Programs (PDF - 4,055 KB)
AdoptUSKids, Home Front Communications, & Kentucky Department for Community Based Services (2010)
Discusses characteristics of online social networks, identifies ways child welfare agencies should and should not use social networks, and shares lessons learned from the experiences of AdoptUSKids.

Facebook for Child Welfare Professionals: Developing a Terms of Use Policy for Your Agency's Facebook Page (PDF - 275 KB)
AdoptUSKids (2012)
Provides ideas about why you might want to include "Terms of Use" for your agency's Facebook page. As an example, it includes the AdoptUSKids' Facebook page "Terms of Use," which can be adapted for other agencies.

Facebook 101 for Child Welfare Professionals: An Introduction to Using Facebook to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 281 KB)
AdoptUSKids (2012)
Provides an overview of Facebook pages and how they could can be used in the context of a child welfare agency that serves foster and adoptive families.

Facebook 201 for Child Welfare Professionals: Strategies and Best Practices for Using Facebook to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 386 KB)
AdoptUSKids (2012)
Offers a detailed guide to using Facebook to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families. This guide includes tips and best practices to get the most out of an agency's Facebook page.

Social Media
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (n.d.)
Offers numerous resources on how to best implement new technologies to communicate online.

Twitter 101 for Child Welfare Professionals (PDF - 281 KB)
AdoptUSKids (2012)
Provides an overview of Twitter and how it could be used by a child welfare agency that serves foster and adoptive families.

Twitter 201 for Child Welfare Professionals: Strategies and Best Practices for Using Twitter to Reach Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Families (PDF - 369 KB)
AdoptUSKids (2012)
Offers a detailed guide to using Twitter for recruiting and retaining foster and adoptive families. It includes tips and best practices to get the most out of an agency's Twitter profile.

Which Social Networks Should Your Agency Use to Reach Families?
AdoptUSKids (2012)
Offers a flowchart to help agencies make decisions about using social media to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families. This flowchart can help agencies decide if they are ready for social media and which platforms they might want to consider.

State Examples of Innovations

Technology allows on-the-go interactions and partnerships 'to occur' 24/7. Find examples below of how agencies are being responsive to this trend. Some States are providing mobile access so users can use their sites on their mobile devices.

Adopt Kansas Kids
Provides mobile access to search hundreds of adoptable Kansas children and youth by gender and age.

New York State Office of Children and Family Services, New York State Adoption Services
Provides a user-friendly, responsive website design that checks the user's browser and device and displays the content best suited for it, which better enables users to search for children and youth from New York who are waiting for families. Also available in Spanish.

Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network
Provides easy access for those looking to adopt one of the nearly 2,500 Pennsylvania children waiting for a permanent family. This website, which was launched in March 2013, is one of the nation's first mobile adoption websites.

Do you know of a promising practice? Please e-mail us at: info@childwelfare.gov

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