Interview with Sasha Chelsea McGowan, MSW on Child Welfare Social Work
- Screening/Hotline Social Worker: Answers calls regarding possible child maltreatment.
- Emergency Response Social Worker: Investigates allegations of child maltreatment, and is responsible for determining if a case is opened on a family or a child is detained and placed in foster care.
- Court/Dependency Investigations Social Worker: Once a child is detained by the Court (ie: taken into foster care), this social worker continues to investigate to clarify the allegations of maltreatment and develop a case plan composed of services and behavioral change necessary to return a child to the care of a parent. They work closely with the Dependency Court to make decisions about goals for the next six months of the case. In my county, this job is covered in my position, “continuing services.”
- Family Reunification/Family Maintenance Social Worker: Once the Court has taken jurisdiction over a child and determined a plan of action, it is this social worker’s job to work with the family as a whole to reunite the child, keep the child with their family, and mitigate the safety risks that were present in the home. This is also my job as a continuing services worker!
- Long Term Foster Care/Transitions to Permanency/Adoptions: These are specialized units that address the needs of children who are not able to reunite with their family of origin. In continuing services, I work with children younger than the age of 16 who were not able to reunify with their parents, and at age 16 they transfer to “Transitions to Permanency” where a social worker with special training will work with them on skills for independence and transitioning to adulthood. Adoptions is exactly what it sounds like — at the time that it is determined a child cannot reunify with their parent, if they are determined to be adoptable, the case is transferred to the specialized adoptions unit that conducts home studies and writes the intensive reports necessary before the termination of parental rights.