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Social workers embrace digital technology

Social workers are increasingly embracing digital technology to find families for children, according to a leading adoption and fostering organisation which has reported a sharp rise in the numbers of children profiled on its online family finding service.

Figures from Baaf show a 37% increase in the number of children waiting for long-term fostering placed on its Be My Parent website.

The service now provides details of more than 250 children online, and the number of videos featuring children on the website has increased by 100%.

Be My Parent profiles children waiting for adoption or long-term fostering when attempts to place them with a family locally have been unsuccessful. Children are referred to the service by local authority fostering and adoption social workers and approved adopters then sign up to subscribe to the Be My Parent website or magazine.

David Holmes, Baaf chief executive, said “There could be a number of reasons for the rise. However, we think a shift in attitude amongst social workers around new media is playing a big part. Where once it was viewed with suspicion and distrust, now they are realising that it is a powerful resource in family finding.

“The internet has also opened the doors to using video to find families for children, which has been hugely successful. A 3-4 minute video can really show the essence of a child and our research shows that children who have videos made for them have an increase in enquiries from prospective adopters. Eighty three per cent of families in our survey said they found it ‘very helpful’, and 96% of social workers said they thought it was a valuable tool,” he added.