Social worker for children and family | Network for social work (2023)

Child and family social workers play an important role in society, connecting families in need with services and monitoring the welfare of vulnerable children. Social workers help investigate abuse and neglect and help place children in safe environments. They also help arrange child adoption and foster care, facilitate transitions and help families through the foster care and adoption process, and help reunite separated siblings and families.

With the U.S. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 16 percent increase in social worker jobs between 2016 and 2026, now is a great time to enter this important field.

this hereInstitute for Labor StatisticsWith the U.S. Since the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 16 percent increase in social worker jobs between 2016 and 2026, now is a great time to enter this important field. To become a family social worker, you must follow certain academic courses to obtain the degrees and certifications necessary for the job. This guide will introduce you to the field of child and family social work and answer many of the common questions students ask when considering a career in the field.

Selected courses in social work

What do social workers do for children and families?

Social workers work in primary locations, such as social service offices, but must also travel to local areas to visit clients' homes. These home visits ensure the well-being of children and families in cases that each social worker handles outside of office duties. Through office and home visits, social workers must identify any academic, behavioral, and social problems affecting the children and families in their care and facilitate the necessary steps to correct these problems in a healthy and sustainable manner.

Child, family and school social workers also work in schools to identify vulnerable children. They respond to requests from teachers and staff and contact students and their families directly when they determine they need help. Social workers can then work with teachers and school staff to implement ways in which students in need can thrive in healthier academic environments (school and home). All social workers also write post-meeting case notes for each case they receive. These case illustrations are invaluable in tracking each client's progress, better understanding their individual needs, and determining which services will be most helpful to them.

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What is the difference between a child and family social worker and a child and family counselor?

Child and family social workers and child and family counselors may appear to act in the same capacity, but in reality they have very different roles. Both professionals work with students, children and families, but they work with them differently. Social workers took a more action-oriented front; they worked to connect those in need with community and social services, monitor the safety and well-being of clients, and take action to correct and improve any unsafe or unhealthy conditions.

Social workers require at least a bachelor's degree to work, while counselors usually require at least a master's degree.

Although counselors are concerned with the safety and well-being of their clients, they primarily work in a therapeutic setting, providing behavioral therapy and counseling. However, if they see red flags or have any concerns about the client, they can contact social services or a social worker, and the social worker can then intervene.

Counselors and social workers also come from different academic backgrounds. Social workers require at least a bachelor's degree to work, while counselors usually require at least a master's degree. Both must meet specific national standards and have specific licenses.

How can I become a social worker for children and families?

The education you need to become a child and family social worker

Educational requirements for social workers for children and families differ depending on the competencies in the possible practice of an individual specialist. A bachelor's degree and licensure will allow social workers to practice in entry-level positions, while a master's degree will allow them to practice at a more advanced level of service delivery such as client counseling.

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A master's degree in child and family social work can take about two years, but this time frame may not include the field experience and internship required for most programs. Students seeking social work licensure typically complete a certain number of supervised clinical hours in a social work setting before being licensed. Requirements for this internship may vary by state and program.

Below you will find more information about the levels of social work you can achieve, how each degree will benefit you as you work towards becoming a child and family social worker, and where you can find information about each type of degree. More details.

  • Graduated in social work for children and families

    A bachelor's degree in social work usually prepares students for a possible master's degree in the field. It also offers the credentials needed for some entry-level social work jobs. Students in these programs usually take regular education courses.

  • Master of Social Work in Family and Children

    A master's degree in child and family social work is usually the minimum degree required to practice in the field. Master of Social Work programs often include an internship or field experience in the form of a supervised practicum.

  • PhD in social work with children and families

    The doctorate in social work prepares social workers for advanced practice. Depending on the program, the degree may emphasize a more clinical career path in social work, such as counseling, or a more research-oriented approach that prepares students for supervisory roles in the field.

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Certification of social work programs for children and families

Earning a degree from an accredited institution is the first step in starting your career as a child and family social worker. When a school is accredited, it means that specific institutions have reviewed the rigor and quality of the school's academic programs to ensure they meet or exceed set standards. When you attend an accredited school, your degree will mean more to future employers than a degree from an unaccredited school. Going to an unaccredited school can also hold you backMeet most of the state's social work licensure requirements.

Social work programs often have programmatic accreditation in addition to institutional accreditation. This program approval usually comes fromCouncil for Social Worker Education. Many states require that you earn a degree from a CSWE-accredited program before taking the licensing exam in order to useContentThe number of accredited schools on the CSWE website to ensure your program has this accreditation.

Licensure and internship requirements to become a child and family social worker

To obtain any level of this license, you must attend a CSWE-approved course and pass an examination required by the Association of Boards of Social Work.

All social workers must be licensed to work - even entry-level social work positions with a bachelor's degree must meet certain state licensing requirements. Professional certificates and certificates can be obtained at the bachelor's and master's levels of education and licensing of social work with children, youth and families.

To obtain any level of this license, you must attend a CSWE-accredited program and pass the required examsAssociation of Social Welfare Committees. Social worker training prepares you for these exams and includes the necessaryInternship and supervised internshipThe number of hours that must be completed before taking. When you apply for and renew your license, you may have to pay certain fees, which vary from state to state. Below you will learn more about state licensing and the requirements for each state.

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State requirements for social workers for children and families

Before beginning your child and family social worker education, be sure to research the specific licensing requirements for social workers in your state. These requirements may vary depending on where you intern, so tailor your academic path to meet that state's requirements. Many states allow you to inherit a license from another state, but you may have to fill out some paperwork along the way. You must also renew your license, usually every two years, depending on your state. Certain continuing education requirements and practice standards must be met to maintain your license. You can learn more about your state's requirements below.

Employment and salary for social workers for children and families

The demand for qualified social workers continues to grow in all fields. Child and family social workers work in a variety of settings, such as private schools, charter schools, and public schools. The average salary for child and family social workers varies depending on where they work and the type of certifications and licenses they have. For example, child and family social work exists as a specialty under the umbrella of general social work practice, but some of these social workers may also have additional credentials, such as counseling or clinical social work, that allow them to earn different salaries in practice. How long you practice also affects your earnings. The table below shows average child and family social worker salaries based on experience.

Average salary for child and family social workers by experience
Elementary level (0-5 years)37,000 dollars
Middle (5-10 years)40,000 dollars
Experience (10-20 years)43,000 dollars
Late menstruation (20+ years)44,000 dollars

Source: PayScale (June 2018)

How to find a licensed social worker job

Earning additional certifications during your education can give you an advantage in the job market, as you will have more marketable skills and expertise and may be able to work in a wider range of environments. Perhaps you should start with local authorities and family service centers in your community becauseof this industryIt tends to employ the most social workers. You can find many jobs on job boards within social work organizations such asGroup of talents for social work, Career CenterNational Association of Social Workers, and the Employment CouncilAssociation of Health Service Social Work Managers.

Social workers for children, family and school by profession
industryemploymentAverage annual salary
Personal and family services76.48042,300 dollars
State government, except for schools and hospitals63.10048,020 dollars
Local authorities, excluding schools and hospitals54.45054,680 dollars
elementary school and high school39.94062,690 dollars
Other homes for the elderly9.67038,540 dollars

Resources for social work for children and families

  • American Council on School Social WorkACSSW is dedicated to supporting and promoting the work of school social workers. They provide social workers and the public with continuing education programs, resources, and access to journal articles and field research.
  • American Association for School Social WorkSSWAA supports school social workers and their practice. Members can benefit from practice liability insurance, funds for social work students and professional advocacy.
  • National Association of Social WorkersNASW provides a wealth of valuable information to social work students and practicing social workers, including information on licensure, academic programs, practice, and advocacy.
  • Guide to applying to master's programs in social workThis guide provides valuable insight to help you make the most of your application to social work graduate programs. It provides information about the types of programs available and what you need to apply for them.
  • Resources for social work todayBoth students and practicing social workers will find these resources useful; here you will find links to numerous social service programs and organizations as well as many national social work associations.


1. What Does a Social Worker Do for Children and Families - Social Worker Role and Responsibilities
(Children & Family Law Nugget Chris Aniche)
2. Being a social worker (Children and Families)
(East Lothian Council)
3. Social Work Interview Questions for Newly Qualified Social Workers | Children Social Work | ASYE
(Intentional Favour)
4. Foster care social worker or case worker home visit to see foster child
(Laura - Foster Parent Partner)
5. Interview with a Social Worker - child protection conference
6. Sept 14 - Faculty of Social Work 80th Anniversary Homecoming 2023
(University of Manitoba)


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