As the COVID-19 pandemic taught us, family time can occur at a distance. Also known as indirect contact, interactions between children and their families can take place using technology-assisted methods such as texting, sending voice messages, voice calling, video calling, online gaming, and emailing. In addition to these methods, family time at a distance can include writing letters, sending postcards or sending care packages through the mail.

Caseworkers can support children to maintain contact with their family members in between visits by:

  • Discussing boundaries and online safety
  • Suggesting age-appropriate remote activities and tips for making video chatting fun
  • Facilitating access to resources needed such as phone credit, prepaid envelopes and instructions for using and downloading apps.


A series of resources have been developed to support children to maintain connections with family using distant methods:

Recommended reading

Ciftci, S., Collings, S., & Wright, A. C. (2022). Action research with caseworkers: Responding to and reflecting on the impacts of COVID‐19 on birth family contact. Child & Family Social Work, 27(4), 851–861. Available at: