External Communications

Broadcast and Print Media

While acknowledging the growing preference for new electronic–based media options, traditional news 

media – radio, television and print – are still extremely important to communications in public 

child welfare. Mass media are commonly the only way many individuals in the general public ever 

learn anything about the public child welfare system. And while others such as advisory board 

members, policy makers, judges, foster parents, professionals in other child and family-serving 

organizations and law enforcement officials may have first-hand experience with an agency, they are 

nonetheless influenced by the media as well.

Knowing that media coverage will inevitably range from positive to negative and since negative 

media coverage can diminish public confidence in an agency, it is important to work to limit the 

amount of purely negative coverage an agency receives.

Establishing good media relations proactively will greatly improve an agency’s chances of receiving 

fair media coverage and therefore influence the public’s view of the agency in a positive way.

 

A public child welfare agency has an ethical responsibility to protect the confidentiality of the 

children, youth and families involved, as well as to inform the media (and therefore public) 

honestly about a situation. This requires maintaining a careful balance

between these often divergent interests.

 






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