A new report published in April by child welfare professionals concludes that social workers find the internet useful for work, but are unclear about how it should be used in a child welfare setting.
Co-authored by social work professors Melanie Sage, Melissa Wells, Todd Sage, and Mary Devlin, the report recommends issuing guidelines for child protection and family professionals. This echoes what Researching Reform suggested in March, when we raised concerns about online methods used to track and trace families and children in care proceedings. In our post we urged the President of The Family Division Sir James Munby to issue a Guidance Note without delay. We also think UK based research like this report would be a welcome development to offer more insight here.
An extract from the paper tells us:
“This analysis examines the role of agency policy and supervision in the decision-making of child welfare workers about their work-related social media use. Data were collected using a mixed-methods internet-based survey of 171 child welfare workers and interns about their social media use related to their direct-practice work with child welfare clients. The study finds that supervisor approval and agency policy is correlated with worker’s social media use, and that workers find utility in social media use, but have poor clarity about how they should use social media in the child welfare work setting. These results suggest a need for agency policy and practice guidelines. Implications for child welfare agencies include an opportunity to consider the types of policy development necessary to ensure that multiple stakeholders are represented in policy and practice decisions, and that they reflect the possible benefits and risks of social media use.”
The information within this publication is astounding, both for its depth of knowledge – it cites the latest research and data available on the adoption of social media within the child protection sector – and its scope. From the risks social media poses to practitioners thinking about engaging online to the benefits of its use, such as the opportunities it offers for practice driven innovation, it is a must read for family professionals.
Some thought-provoking ideas from the paper:
- “The utility-driven use of social media… offers the opportunity for practice-driven innovation, instead of the top-down agency-driven technology mandates which workers often find as disruptive to their practice.”
- ” [A] study of the acceptability of videoconferencing via Skype for visits between children in foster care and their siblings or parents found that child welfare workers generally thought it was an acceptable practice, and some were already using it.”
- “Another concern relates to safety and privacy issues… Factors for consideration include informed consent, confidentiality, verifying identity, and avoiding disclosure of confidential client identification.”
- “Child welfare workers report that they access social media to aid in risk assessment, and sometimes generally to learn about clients.”
- “Ethical issues also arise related to a client’s right to privacy… and potential relationship harm caused by this type of information use.”
More controversially, a significant percentage of those surveyed admitted to searching for clients online:
- Over half of the workers (58%) reported that searching for a client on Facebook out of curiosity was acceptable in some situations and 43% reported that they had done this.
- Over half of workers (53%) stated that it was acceptable in some situations to search for a client on Facebook that the agency would like to locate, such as a missing parent and about half (49%) had done this.
- 61% of the child welfare workers stated that it was acceptable in some situations to search for a client on a site like Facebook when the information might give insight into client risk factors and close to half (46%) had done this.
- About 65% of the child welfare workers reported that it was acceptable in some situations to search for a client on a site like Facebook when conducting a child welfare investigation or assessment and about a third had done this.
Whilst the research was conducted in America, there are clear parallels between the US and the UK: we know that child welfare professionals in the UK are using the internet to contact and even monitor families.
The use of social media within family work was broached by the British Association Of Social Workers in 2012, with an initial document outlining their stance on Social Media Policy and Child Protection Practice. It’s a good basic working document which outlines the fundamentals of online content, privacy and professional conduct, however it doesn’t adequately address the evolving issues surrounding service users, and so input from the President is necessary to ensure that all topics are covered and clear guidelines are available to everyone.
We’ve added some articles below on social media use in a child welfare context:
- Connected and protected: Can social media be a part of social work practice? (2015)
- Facebook: Ethical and Clinical Considerations (2015)
- Social media and adoption – what social workers need to know
The full report, which is called “Supervisor and policy roles in social media use as a new technology in child welfare”, can be accessed if you’re accredited or if you’re happy to pay the download fee. Essentially, the research calls for better guidance on social media use, guidance which would benefit social work practice globally.
A very big thank you to Melanie Sage for offering Researching Reform the report in full and to Dennis North for alerting us to this publication.
Sabine Kurjo McNeill said:
Please do not forget Sir James’s judgment in the Baby J case where he appealed to courts to “adapt to the realities of the internet and particularly social media.”
That was in September 2013.
What is the link between Professionals and Mainstream Media vs “we, the unpaid people” and Social Media???
Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..
More room for thought and clarity of intent. With so many voicing their opinions and giving their well-meaning advice, the waters are in danger of becoming cloudier than ever.
THIS IS HOW STATE SPONSORED ORGANISED AND INSTITUTIONAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING ON AN INDUSTRIAL SCALE IN THE UK During the holocaust the incestuous paedophile and child murderer Adolf Hitler had babies , children , Jews , Indo Europeans (P.I.E) and anyone made disabled from the generational use of nitrous oxide gas and vitamin b12 lowering pharma drugs and vaccines taken into ” Protective Custody ” where they were sexually abused , tortured, experimented on and murdered by psychopaths dressed up as pantomime doctors and surgeons .
Child Protection is based on these policies so no one is being fooled by this holocaust and war crime . The ” child protection ” report was written by Lord Laming , a psychiatric social worker who took over Savilles old job . The “child protection” process has been designed to be as disturbing as is inhumanly possible in order to induce the appearance of trauma and fear in children suffering with untreated vitamin b12 deficiency and pernicious anaemia symptoms which will generate funds for CAMHS . The children have been deliberately neurologically damaged in order to generate funds for post graduates working in SEN who will parasitically earn their living out of the misery of the children who have been body snatched by the sadistic and sinister courts .
The babies and children who have been abducted by the SS vitamin b12 deficiency gestapo have untreated vitamin b12 deficiency / pernicious anemia caused by the generational use of nitrous oxide gas and vitamin b12 lowering pharma drugs and vaccines . Their deficiencies are being deliberately prolonged in ” care ” in order to cause further needless illness and disability in order to supply post graduate pharma company ” doctors ” with victims . The babies and children who have been stolen are being sexually abused , tortured , experimented on and murdered . They are being ferried from one mystery doctor to another whilst in ” care ” and forced to take unwanted dangerous pharma drugs and vaccines without their consent and without permission from their parents , who they have been alienated from in advance by the concocted lies told by SS workers .
The vitamin b12 deficiency symptoms cause fits and so these children are being put in the bath on a regular basis in order to cause them to drown . Children in S.E.N provisions are being assaulted in order to cause internal bleeding which is common in people with pernicious anaemia ( the runny blood disease ) in order to provide childrens hospitals with victims . They are being left sitting in strong sunlight in order to cause sunburn which needs hospital treatment . Their hair is turning white and falling out and they have severe weight loss and are covered in bruises from the pernicious anemia which is why they are being kept out of sight by the SS . Staged photographs of the children are presented to the courts wearing fake hair draped across their bald heads and wearing clothing to conceal their severe weight loss .
The children taken need an active for of vitamin b12 called methylcobalamin which was reserved for the private sector in the sadistic and disturbing ” child protection ” report which was endorsed by the BBC , Ed Balls and Andy Burnham among others after the stench of the Saville scandal started to come up through the floor boards . Doctors in the private sector are now able to take advantage of the methylcobalamin monopoly and cash cow which was created and are able to charge upwards of £100 per shot for methylcobalamin which should only cost around 70p per dose .
Mothers have been kept deliberately vitamin b12 deficient using nitrous oxide gas which switches off the bodys ability to utilise vitamin b12 and this can be permanently causing pernicious anaemia along with vitamin b12 lowering pharma drugs such as vaccines , proton pump inhibitors , anti biotics , metformin , antacids , pain killers , mefenamic acid , anti depressants and a host of others . This causes them to have pre term , low weight babies . Children born with a low birth weight are vulnerable to having an unnaturally early puberty which can effect children as young as two and can cause six month old babies to have a false puberty . Forceps have been used to damage the optic nerve , causing optic nerve neuropathy / atrophy and optic nerve hypoplasia , which effects the hypothalamic function of the brain which controls body temperature regulation and effects the pituitary gland ( master gland ) which controls sex hormone and behavior . An imbalance in sex hormone causes premature puberty . Babies heads have been getting x-rayed in children`s hospitals which causes premature puberty , learning difficulties and microcephaly . Generations of these babies and children have been getting referred to social services by doctors where they have been getting sexually abused on an industrial scale . They have been tortured and murdered , experimented on and used like laboratory monkeys . They and their parents have no more human rights than farm animals .
Vitamin B12`s job is to form fresh red blood cells , to switch off cancer cells and to maintain RNA and DNA synthesis …..so ….when people are given nitrous oxide gas and vitamin b12 lowering pharma drugs and vaccines over several generations , it causes genetic mutations which cause cancer , CJD , microcephaly , MS , alsheimers and all manner of other needless illness and disability including mental illness . Those who have died from cancer and other illnesses were just a bi- product of the organised and institutional state sponsored sexual abuse of babies and children which has happened on an industrial scale for generations .
NEVER WILL WE FORGIVE THEM .
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