Career Profile: Child and Family Social Worker
What They Do
Maximizing the well-being and social and psychological functioning of children and families is at the heart of what child and family social workers do. The daily activities of one of these specialized social workers may include:
- assisting parents
- arranging adoptions
- finding foster homes
- counseling individuals
- interviewing clients
- assessing situations and environments
In some cases, these social workers respond to crises relating to trauma and stress for children. They may also provide support and therapy to families and children. Child and family social workers work with parents and children find the best resources needed to create a healthy living environment for families. A child and family social worker may also serve as a liaison between a child and family, home, school, family services, child guidance clinics, courts and protective services.
Some of these social workers work in educational environments like in elementary, middle or high schools. Others work in governmental organizations, residential care facilities, adoption agencies or any kind of social service agency. Some social workers make house calls to check in on the health, behavior and well-being of a child and their family. Social workers are also responsible for addressing legal issues with families and children, which can include:
- child abuse and discipline
- assisting with hearings
- providing testimony
- evaluating and giving opinion concerning custody arrangements
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the field of social work will experience a 19 percent growth from 2012 to 2022. The data for child, family and school social workers projects a 15 percent growth over that same time period.
The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for a social worker is around $44,200. Child and family social workers make around $41,530 a year. The top industries in which social workers can find employment are:
- hospitals (state, local and private)
- state and local government
- health care and social assistance
- religious, grant-making, civic, professional and other similar organizations
Entry-level positions as a social worker require that an individual has at least a bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is a common degree held by professionals in this field. Specifically, an undergraduate program will prepare students for direct-service positions like caseworkers and mental health assistants. These programs also require students to take and complete an internship.
Bachelor’s programs aim to prepare their social work graduates with skills and knowledge relating to social work, sociology, psychology, counseling, human diversity, social and economic justice and ethics.
Many individuals go on to pursue advanced degrees and further their careers. A child and family social worker who has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work can go on to higher degree programs like a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy or a Master of Science in Health Sciences.
In addition to a college degree, many states require child and family social workers to have some type of licensure or certifications. The Association of Social Work Boards offers information about licensure and certification requirements for specific states.