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:
- Keeping connected using video chats
- 10 child and family friendly online games
- Keeping connected by playing online games
- Letterbox exchanges and crafting activities
- Meaningful conversation starters
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. https://doi.org/10.1111/cfs.12935. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cfs.12935