Supporting Child Welfare Traineeship Students through an Online Peer Network

Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Virginia C. Strand, Sharon Kollar, Robin Leake


This article describes the implementation of a peer network for social work traineeship students pursuing or continuing careers in child welfare. Literature on the best principles and practices for online community building reviewed and an explanation of how these best practices were utilized to build the online community is provided. Initial program design is described as well as program developments that occurred over four years of the program. The article then examines how the program’s evaluation was carried out and reviews some of the evaluation data. The article concludes with a discussion about the successes and challenges experienced in building the peer network and how other social work or traineeship programs, or agencies, might use an online peer network to support social work students and professionals.


online communities, traineeship programs, peer networks, evaluation

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