Social media technology has drastically changed how people share and access information. Although it presents privacy and safety concerns, social media can also be used to support children and families involved in the child welfare system through family connections, support, and social ties. The following resources present examples of how social media technology can be used to provide services and supports to families involved in child welfare.
Facilitating Virtual Parent Support Groups
Presents online options for facilitating parent support groups through social media sites such as Facebook and other online platforms like Google Hangouts, Skype, and Zoom. The article reviews tips for child welfare professionals on hosting these types of meetings and advice for helping them run smoothly.
Resources and Tools: Mobile Applications
San Diego State University, School of Social Work, Academy for Professional Excellence
Includes downloadable apps for topics such as a guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act, elements of child sexual abuse, keys to engagement, and more. There is a search at the top of the page where users can isolate resources found in the Mobile Applications subsection.
Risky Business: Applying Ethical Standards to Social Media Use With Vulnerable Populations
Dolinsky & Helbig (2015)
Advances in Social Work, 16(1)
Highlights ethical considerations when using social media in a helping profession and working with young people. Research findings demonstrate the importance of providing guidelines and best practices when adopting social media tools for interacting with vulnerable populations.
Session Six: Using Social Media and Technology to Engage Children, Youth, and Families [Webinar]
National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (2020)
Offers a webinar recording, slides, and discussion on child welfare workers using social media and online technologies to communicate with families. The webinar discusses best practice on supporting child welfare workers in their use of technology.
Social Media Use in Child Welfare Practice
Sage & Sage (2016)
Advances in Social Work, 17(1)
Offers insights on child welfare workers' use of social media in a work setting and indicates that most child welfare professionals see social media as an acceptable and useful tool for conducing child welfare assessments. The article also presents recommendations on the development of social media guidance for the child welfare field.
The Use of Facebook in Social Work Practice With Children and Families: Exploring Complexity in an Emerging Practice
Cooner, Beddoe, Ferguson, & Joy (2019)
Explores how Facebook is used in casework practice with families. The article examines benefits and challenges related to the use of Facebook and social media in the fields of social work and child protection.
Using Facebook Groups to Support Families After Placement [Webinar]
Shows a webinar on the use of Facebook to support families after placement. The webinar reviews the value of online support to families, the role of the moderator, and how to start an online group.
Using Social Media to Engage Families (PDF - 2,693)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children
and Families, Office of Head Start, National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (2018)
Provides information on the use of social media to engage with families and covers developing a social media plan, choosing social media sites to use as well as information on how parents and families use social media and more.
Youth in Care and Social Media Use
Dworkin & LeBouef (2020)
University of Minnesota, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare
Offers a training for child welfare caseworkers on youth in foster care and social media use. The three-part training covers how social media impacts youth in care, the benefits and risks of social media, a framework for caseworkers and caregivers to reflect on their own technology use, and scenarios for professionals and caregivers to work through together.