Child, Family, and School Social Workers fall into the Social Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory® Test. The Strong Interest Inventory® categorizes careers into six theme codes, each of which is characterized by different workplace environments as well as work and personal interest patterns. The Inventory then analyzes individuals along these dimensions and identifies the Theme Code Categories most likely to provide them with a fulfilling career. The Social Theme Code Category emphasizes helping, instructing, and supporting other people. In this category, human interactions are considered of the utmost importance, as are strong social and verbal skills. Due to the multitude of challenging workplace environments and factors within this career-set, the ability to empathize with one’s clients or co-workers is essential.
Child, Family, and School Social Workers are responsible for supporting and improving the psychological well-being of children and their families. Those who work in schools are also concerned with students’ academic standing. They provide this support by counseling children, parents, and others in their social circles, and may cover topics as wide as unemployment, physical abuse, substance abuse, and medical care. Often, the first step is an introductory needs assessment to identify clients’ areas of vulnerability and to develop a plan for best meeting their needs. Social Workers may serve as liaisons among schools, homes, courts, doctors, and other contacts to provide customized care to each client and family. They may also recommend other resources, including support groups and local charities. Their goal is to identify the best combination of resources to ensure a positive outcome for their clients.
They carefully document all interactions and recommendations, not only to track successes and failures, but also because such records may be demanded by professionals involved in clients care, as well as by courts or other legal entities. Especially in the cases of children who move frequently, such as foster children or children who are caught in difficult divorce situations, these records can also be used to maintain a sense of continuity and normalcy for children. Social Workers may need to communicate the content of these records to adults in the lives of their young clients. In some cases, Social Workers may also testify, conduct research, serve on policy-making committees, or act as lobbyists for particular causes. In short, the responsibility of Child, Family, and School Social Workers is to improve their clients’ well-being and outcomes.
Social Workers rarely require specialized skills with tools and technology, though proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite (including Word, Outlook, Excel, and occasionally PowerPoint) is necessary, as is experience with Gmail and Google Calendar. Their expertise lies in their knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for therapy and counseling, as well as their education in social and human sciences including psychology, sociology and anthropology. Social Workers need to be able to communicate clearly and confidently in English. They need to be sensitive to the needs of their clients and their families. Conflict negotiation and problem solving skills are invaluable, as is the ability to locate hard-to-find information and leverage it to influence client outcomes.
While the precise degrees needed to become a Social Worker may vary by state and by area of expertise, in general a four-year university degree as well as a state-issued license are necessary to become a certified Child, Family, or School Social Worker. A considerable amount of on-the-job vocational training may also be necessary, as responsibilities may vary widely depending on the precise responsibilities and contexts. As a result of this variability, the salaries of Social Workers depends significantly on their area of specialization, years of experience and education.
Child, Family, and Social Workers salary is just under $50,000 median around the United States. However, the most highly paid Social Workers, especially in large states like California and New York, can earn as much as $90,000 per year, depending on their skills and experience. Child and Family Social Workers’ salary can be as low as $27,000, even in large and high cost-of-living states. The rates of employment are expected to rise significantly, as much as 30% in Colorado and Maryland, though nationally projected growth is 6.2% before 2020.
Below are some employment trends for Social Workers:
- Median Child, Family and School Social Workers Salary: $20.36/hour; $42,350 annually
- Employment: 305,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Average (5% to 8%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 92,500
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org