Child, Family, and School Social Workers Overview
A bachelor’s degree is necessary for child, family and school social workers at the entry-level, though a masters degree is needed for some positions. Employment is expected to grow at a faster than average rate and job prospects should be favorable, especially in rural areas. About 54 percent of child, family and school social workers were in social assistance and healthcare, while 31 percent work for government.
Nature of the Work for Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Child, family and school social workers must have a strong desire to help others. They work with people to help them cope with and solve everyday issues including relationships and family problems. Some social workers work with clients facing disability, unemployment, substance abuse, a life-threatening disease or any other number of issues. Also, child, family and school social workers may conduct research or become an advocate. With a state mandated licenses, child, family and school social workers, may also be called licensed clinical social workers.
To improve the psychological and social function of families and children, child, family and school social workers provide assistance and social services. These workers must first assess their client’s need in order to then offer assistance to help improve their circumstances. Often, this includes coordinating available services for children and families. Child, family and school social workers may help arrange adoptions, find foster homes for neglected or abused children, or help single parents find day care.
Child, family and school social workers may work in schools where they typically act as a liaison between the school and its families. They work with teachers, school officials, parents and guardians to ensure students reach their top personal and academic potential. Stress and emotional problems are fair game as well. Often child, family and school social workers in schools work with children who have disabilities, and their families. They may also deal with teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol problems, difficult students and misbehavior. Many teach workshops in the classroom on conflict resolution and other important topics.
Also known as child welfare works, child protective services social workers and family services social workers, child, family and school social workers often work for individual and family services agencies, governments and schools.
Often, child, family and school social workers work in an office or school, though some must travel locally to see clients or attend meetings. The work of child, family and school social workers is typically satisfying though it can be challenging. Large caseloads due to understaffing often add pressure. Most child, family and school social workers work a standard 40-hour workweek, though some night and weekend work is required. A few child, family and school social workers work part time.
Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Most child, family and school social workers must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW). Some entry-level jobs allow those with degrees in sociology, psychology and related fields. Some positions after the entry-level require an advanced degree. For example, a masters degree in social work (MSW) is usually required for health and school social worker positions, as well as for clinical work. In addition, supervisory, administrative and staff training positions usually require an advanced degree.
In general, a bachelor’s degree prepares child, family and school social workers for direct service jobs including group home worker, residential counselor, caseworker and mental health assistant. Programs cover promotion of social and economic justice, social welfare policy and services, social research methods, field education, social work values and ethics, and dealing with a culturally diverse clientele and at risk population.
Masters degree programs prepare graduates for their chosen concentration, such as child, family and school social workers. They learn to perform clinical assessments, explore new social services methods, take on supervisory roles and manage large caseloads. These programs take 2 years if studying full time or 4 years if studying part time. Holding a BSW degree is not a requirement to enroll in an MSW program, but courses in social work, biology, sociology, economics, psychology and political science are necessary.
All states have certification, licensing and registration requirements. Usually child, family and school social workers must have 2 years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Those interested in becoming child, family and school social workers should check their state requirements.
In this field, workers need to be able to handle responsibility, maintain good working relationships and work independently. child, family and school social workers should be emotional mature, sensitive and objective. Volunteering or working as a social work aide can help candidates test their interests.
With an advanced degree and work experience, child, family and school social workers can advance to supervisor, assistant director, executive director or program manager positions. Some may find work in research, consulting, teaching or formulating government policies.
Private practice is another option for child, family and school social workers. To do this, child, family and school social workers must have at least a masters degree and some supervised work experience.
Top 10 Most Popular Social Work Schools
1. Springfield College (Springfield, Massachusetts)
2. New York University (New York, New York)
3. Columbia University in the City of New York (New York, New York)
4. Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
5. Fordham University, Bronx (Bronx, New York)
6. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California)
7. Indiana University, Bloomington (Bloomington, Indiana)
8. SUNY Empire State College (Saratoga Springs, New York)
9. Metropolitan College of New York (New York, New York)
10. Indiana University - Purdue University, Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Indiana)
See All Social Work Schools
Online School: Saint Leo University Online
Employment and Job Outlook for Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Number of People in Profession
Changing Employment (2008-2018)
Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).
Job Opportunities & Competition
Good or favorable job opportunities. Job openings compared with job seekers may be in rough balance.
There are about 642,000 social workers and about 292,600 of them are child, family and school social workers. Most work in rural areas.
Jobs for child, family and school social workers are expected to grow about 12 percent over the next decade, which is about as fast as average compared to all occupations. These workers are called upon to investigate child abuse cases and place children with adoptive families or in foster care. That said, government budget constraints may hamper the growth for child, family and school social workers, since the majority are employed by government agencies. Rising student enrollments and the continued push to integrate children with disabilit39,53ies into general classrooms will spur growth for school social workers. However, the limited number of openings could cause tough competition in some areas. Plus, again, government funding will be a major factor in job growth in schools.
Overall, job prospects should be favorable for child, family and school social workers. Job openings will arise as some social workers lead the occupations. Competition will be tough in cities where social worker training programs are prevalent. Rural areas, where it’s hard to retain qualified staff, should have good opportunities.
Earnings and Salary for Child, Family, and School Social Workers
Median annual wages for child, family and school social workers are $39,960. The highest 10 percent earn above $67,360, the lowest 10 percent earn under $26,050 and the middle 50 percent earn between $31,950 and $52,410. The median annual wages by top industries employing child, family and school social workers are as follows:
Other residential care facilities: $32,270
Individual and family services: 34,450
State government: 39,600
Local government: 46,650
Elementary and secondary schools: 53,860
Annual Salary for Child, Family, and School Social Workers
On average, Child, Family, and School Social Workers earn $39,960 per year.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook