for Successful Implementation of the Program
COMPUTER BUDDIES COORDINATOR assumes overall responsibility for the
implementation of Computer Buddies. The primary goal of the program
is to improve academic success for children and youth in
foster care. The Computer Buddies Coordinator usually is an
employee of the Department of Social Services who holds other job
If the coordinator is a foster parent then close collaboration with
the designated DSS liaison will be needed to successfully implement the
Co-coordinators are acceptable if the county wishes to organize
their Computer Buddies Program in this way.
In addition to building a team to help with implementation of the
program, the following tips are included to help the coordinator(s)
successfully implement the program:
The Computer Buddies Coordinator will emphasize to
Computer Buddies that their primary role is to focus on their foster
child’s education by being an educational coach, in order to improve the
academic success of their foster child.
Attend Nexuskids Computer Buddies training and
become familiar with the training materials, websites and technical
support that may be provided by Nexuskids.
Help to identify, recruit and support the Computer Buddies Technical
and coordinate training and program implementation. The Technical Manager may be a community volunteer, a foster
parent, or a DSS employee.
Work closely with the DSS foster care workers and supervisors to
implement the Computer Buddies program.
Identify and orient community partners to help recruit Computer Buddies.
Inform foster parents about the program. In
addition to the need to increase parental awareness and support of foster
children’s academic success, include in the orientation that the
computer systems are the property of the South Carolina Foster Parents
Association and as such are “on loan” to the families of school age
foster children. Be sure the
parents understand that the South Carolina Foster Parents Association, the
Children’s Law Office (Nexuskids), and the Department of Social Services
cannot maintain the computer, provide supplies or Internet access.
Recruit persons who may be interested in serving as Computer Buddies. Because foster children have a history of abuse and neglect,
it is important that Computer Buddies are sensitive to these issues. All
DSS volunteers who work with abused and/or neglected children in foster
care, including Computer Buddies, must be screened to assure no one with a
criminal history or history of child abuse and neglect has contact with
the foster child. Consequently, it is essential that Computer Buddies have
undergone routine background checks by DSS, have received orientation
training before being introduced to the family, and have the approval of
the parents before meeting the child. Computer Buddies may be community
volunteers—both teens and adults—recruited through civic groups,
colleges, parent associations, high schools, technical schools,
businesses, or places of worship. Computer
Buddies can be family friends or relatives recruited by the foster family.
Provide training and orientation of Computer Buddies. This training can be coordinated with Nexuskids or provided
on-site utilizing Nexuskids’ training videos and material.
Ongoing training and support of Computer Buddies is essential.
Provide Computer Buddies with the software package containing the imaging
software CD, educational software CD, and blank disk for computer
DSS staff in matching Computer Buddies with foster children.
Following a successful background search by DSS, Computer Buddies
will be matched to foster children depending on the needs of the child and
family. Matching criteria
will include matching technical computer skills of the Computer Buddy to
what the foster family requests, according to the emotional, developmental,
and academic needs of the foster child.
The foster family and Computer Buddy must both feel comfortable
with each other in order to work effectively with individual foster
children in the home. Where there is more than one school age foster child
in a foster family, the foster family, the Computer Buddy, and the DSS
caseworker will work together to determine the
overall computer needs of the foster family and how the Computer
Buddy may be able to help to support the entire family.
Computer Buddies how to handle confidential and sensitive information.
Foster children have been exposed to trauma that even many adults
have trouble comprehending. It is possible that a foster child, once he or she has come
to trust an adult such as a foster parent or Computer Buddy, might
disclose information about abuse or neglect that is unknown to the
Department of Social Services. If
this should come up, Computer Buddies should know whom to call at DSS with
the information. Similarly,
Computer Buddies need to be briefed on the need to maintain strict
confidentiality in order to protect the foster child.
It is recommended that each Computer Buddy sign a confidentiality
form acknowledging he or she is aware of the need for confidentiality.
secure, temporary storage for the computer systems and help to coordinate
their delivery to foster families. Any
appropriate facility or room that is safe and secure and approved by the
DSS County Director may be used. The
storage area does not need air conditioning, but it must be dry to avoid
damage to the computers.
the process for disseminating the computer systems for your county.
While the Computer
Buddies Coordinator and Technical Manager are encouraged to involve
Nexuskids with strategic planning and technical assistance to implement
Computer Buddies as efficiently as possible, the ultimate success of
Computer Buddies rests with strong, local planning and a sound
understanding of each community’s assets. Identify
a team to help with implementation! Assure,
with the Computer Buddies Technical Manager, that an inventory of
equipment is completed prior to delivering any computer system into a
Assist Computer Buddies in finding the assistance needed to install the
computers and software in conjunction with the Computer Buddies Technical
Be familiar with the educational software provided
for foster children and encourage Computer Buddies to regularly update the
foster child’s software, depending on the child’s academic needs.
Encourage completion, receipt and analysis of the short Computer Buddies
Monthly Status Reports. Electronic
submission of this form is acceptable.
Maintain contact with the Foster Parents Association and Nexuskids as
appropriate to understand needs and interests.
working as a team, our combined efforts will decrease the level of work
for all parties.
Develop a system whereby technical assistance can be provided as needed
and appropriate. The system should include
a method of receiving requests, acknowledging requests, and responding to
requests for assistance in a timely manner.
Provide ongoing assistance and continuous encouragement necessary for
the effective implementation of Computer Buddies. Appropriate recognition of Computer Buddies for their
volunteer service is essential.
Be familiar with the official Nexuskids website (www.Nexuskids.org) and
regularly browse the technical website established for Computer Buddies (www.help-net.com/computer
stay up on current educational issues affecting foster children, software
and other technical assistance that will help in sustaining computer use
by foster children and involvement of volunteers.