Most people are on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Pinterest, where they share their life stories and personal information. Many share images and identities of their loved ones on these platforms or send them as messages to their friends. While no specific rule forbids biological parents from posting children’s images, it is different for foster caregivers.
Can You Post Foster Kids’ Images on Social Media?
In its social media tips for foster parents, the child welfare section of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services explains that foster children should not be photographed for social media platforms or newspaper articles where the public would know their identities. This means you cannot post pictures of your poster child on social media platforms that enable the public to identify them.
Likewise, you are not allowed to share your foster child’s personal information online. Doing so is a violation of their privacy and may jeopardize their safety. However, many parents have found a way to post their images, especially where they are taken as group photos, without violating their rights.
Here are a few ways to go about it:
• You may use a digital sticker to cover any identifying features in the photograph. Many platforms, including Snapchat and Instagram, have stickers available when posting images.
• You may crop the image to remove features that may identify the child.
• If you post text about the child, you may use an alias or nickname or just change the name so that they cannot be identified easily.
• Do not post location coordinates, house numbers, or maps of their locations.
How About Talking About My Foster Child in Parenting Forums?
Message boards and forums are considered part of social media. You are free to share and seek advice on any topic relating to caregiving. However, never share confidential information about the child, including name, school, grade, or image.
When discussing personal issues, use general language that does not relate to specific features of the child. Do not post reasons why they got into foster care, their past, behavior, or your relationship with them.
Ensure that individuals do not identify your foster child on social media platforms. Otherwise, you may be liable for violating their privacy. Limit postings about them and cover any identifying features if you must post their images. Make sure to visit TFI Family Services for advice and assistance in taking care of your foster child.