Supporting Child Welfare Traineeship Students through an Online Peer Network

  • Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
  • Virginia C. Strand Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
  • Sharon Kollar University at Albany School of Social Welfare
  • Robin Leake University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
Keywords: online communities, traineeship programs, peer networks, evaluation

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Research assistant; Doctoral student at Fordham University GSSS; former student peer network coordinator for National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Virginia C. Strand, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Professor National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Consultant
Sharon Kollar, University at Albany School of Social Welfare
LINKD Implementation Coordinator and Adjunct Instructor National Child Welfare Workforce Institute
Robin Leake, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work
Research Associate Professor National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, Evaluator
Published
2015-07-27