Child Welfare Social Work Guide [Careers, Education & Salaries]
What is a Child Welfare Social Worker?
Job Description at a Glance
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Simmons School of Social Work (SSW)
Master of Social Work (MSW)
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- Prepares students to pursue licensure, including LCSW
- Full-time, part-time, and accelerated tracks
- Minimum completion time: 16 months
How to Become a Child Welfare Social Worker
- Complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work from a CSWE-accredited college or university.
- Gain experience through a child welfare-related internship or field placement.
- Pass the appropriate licensing exams and apply for state licensure.
- Complete continuing education requirements to retain licensure.
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Types of Child Welfare Social Workers
Emergency First Responder (“Front-End”) Social Workers
Continuing Services (‘Back-End’) Social Worker
What Child Welfare Social Workers Do
Investigative Work (in Collaboration with CPS and Dependency Court)
Case Plan Development
Counseling and Psychotherapy
Coordination of Support Services for Child and Parents
- Wraparound Services (WRAP): Wraparound services are defined as community based, individualized, and comprehensive mental, emotional, behavioral and social services and support for people in need, such as vulnerable children and their parents. Wraparound services encompass an individual’s social, emotional, health, academic, and (where relevant) occupational needs, and recruit multiple providers from within the community (teachers, behavioral therapists, social workers, medical professionals, etc.).
- Child and Family Team (CFT) Meetings: CFT meetings are between children, parents, and human service providers, during which both parents and their children set goals for making the necessary changes to successfully reunify, and providers work with the family to construct a plan for meeting these goals. Providers also offer resources and support to assist the family in meeting their goals by established deadlines.
- Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): IEPs are developed primarily by school personnel (such as teachers, counselors and school social workers) in response to the needs of specific children who are not performing well at school for mental, emotional, behavioral, familial and/or social reasons. Child welfare social workers may participate in the development or maintenance of these plans in cases when child abuse or neglect are factors in a child not meeting certain academic standards.
- Team Decision Meetings (TDMs): These meetings are held between different social service providers before every key decision in a child’s case (placing a child in a foster home or with an adopted family, reuniting children with their families, etc.). During these meetings, providers develop an appropriate course of action given the family’s circumstances and progress (if applicable), evaluate the benefits and risks of this course of action, and update one another on the progress of a family.