Using Facebook

Social media is becoming increasingly utilized, providing new ways to communicate and share information with a few easy key strokes. More and more child welfare agencies are turning to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to provide the public with information and resources, including current and prospective foster parents. Here, we'll share a few ideas about how to use Facebook as a way of recruiting and supporting foster parents.

  • Many agencies have a public Facebook profile for their foster care programs. This is an easy way to share information about upcoming events, training opportunities, and resources to current foster families. It is also a way to recognize staff, foster parents, and community partners who have gone above and beyond to help foster parents and youth in out-of-home care. Check out your fellow county foster care Facebook pages, like La CrosseWaukesha, and Manitowoc counties for ideas on how to stay engaged with your staff, foster families, and community.Since these groups are primarily for sharing information, the page can be set up to disable postings or comments by anyone except the administrator. This frees up the administrator from having to monitor communications on the page.
  • Closed Facebook groups are another way to help support foster families. With closed groups, members have to ask to join. An administrator monitors the group's posts and comments to ensure confidentiality and other standards are maintained. Usually, a set of guidelines are in place that members must agree to before being allowed to join a group. Portage County has a foster parent-run private Facebook group where families can communicate with each other to seek guidance, support, or just check in with each other. These kinds of groups can be a good supplement to an in-person support group or used in place of an in-person group. Foster parents can ask questions easily at any time and peer foster parents or coordinators can supply information and ideas. The Foster Care Coordinator becomes involved only when necessary to resolve issues. Counties using this approach, like Portage, indicate it is rare that the coordinator has to intervene.
  • Public Facebook pages can also be used as a recruitment tool. Dane County posts their upcoming informational meetings on their page as a way to recruit new foster parents and advertise upcoming informational meetings. Another idea is to search out other local groups in your communities and ask to join their group. Once you are accepted to join, you can post information about your foster care program. This is another way to share information about foster care and the need for foster parents in specific communities in your counties.
If you are just getting started and looking for ideas about how to utilize Facebook or other social media platforms as a way to support your foster care program, the National Resource Center for Diligent Recruitment: Using Social Media in Recruitment has several tools available to help you along your way. As a reminder, always seek permission from your agency before creating a social media profile.

We hope this information is useful for you! We also want to remind you that we are here to help and support you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to the Resource Specialists at the Coalition: 414-475-1246, 800-762-8063, .
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