Social networking and contact

How social workers can help adoptive families

Written by Eileen Fursland
Price: £14.95
Publisher: BAAF
Publication date: 2010
ISBN: 978 1 905664 97 9
Social networking and contact Front Cover
About the book

The “social” use of the internet has had a huge impact on society and the way people communicate with one another. Social networking sites such as Facebook have made finding and contacting people easier than ever before, with both positive and negative outcomes. 

The use of Facebook has already had an impact on many adoptive families and has the potential to affect many more. Increasingly, young people are using it and other web sites to trace and contact their birth parents and other birth relatives.  Birth relatives are using the internet to trace their children. Once they have made contact, adopted young people may go on to have phone calls and even meetings with their birth parents or brothers and sisters – often in secret and therefore bypassing the support and safeguards that are usually in place.

Social networking and contact examines the way the internet, social networking and other technologies are changing the landscape of adoption contact, search and reunion. It is the first UK guide to explore the many pressing questions and concerns facing social workers:

  • What do practitioners need to know about adoption in the Facebook age?
  • How can they be equipped for new challenges?
  • What do social workers need to know about protecting privacy and security so that they can give advice to young people and their families?
  • How can social workers manage the complex situations that arise from unauthorised and unmediated contact?
  • What advice and support is available?

The guide demystifies the technology behind social networking sites, provides a practical explanation of how they work and tackles key issues such as internet safety, privacy and identity protection. It examines the challenges faced by all parties involved in contact and looks at balancing the adopted child’s curiosity and need to know with the adoptive family’s fears and concerns around security and disruption.

Social networking and contact provides a significant amount of information, raises important questions and offers essential advice. Case studies and quotations enable others’ experiences to be shared, and reveal the potential and very significant risks that some people have experienced. Although it does not provide any easy answers, the guide does include hard-won insights from adoption workers and adoptive parents who have had to face up to the impact of Facebook.


Interesting and informative. Social networking and contact contains much that is sensible in terms of advice to adoptive parents and social workers.

Child & Family Social Work