Child Welfare Caseworker: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a child welfare caseworker. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Addictions & Social Work degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Child Welfare Caseworker?

Child welfare caseworkers are usually social workers who work with children and families to promote and protect the welfare of children. Child, family, and school social workers work for government agencies, schools, social service agencies, residential care facilities and hospitals.

Their responsibilities and job duties include monitoring a child's progress at home and at school, ensuring that a child has adequate shelter and nourishment, helping families access social services and intervening in hostile family situations. Child welfare caseworkers need to have excellent communication skills in order to effectively advocate for their clients. Check out the table below to learn more about child welfare caseworker careers.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Social work, or related field such as psychology or sociology
Key Responsibilities Protect abused and neglected children by identifying those who need help; assess the family needs; establish goals and provide services to meet those goals; place and monitor children in foster care; refer families to community resources
Licensure All states require some licensure or certification for social workers but the requirements vary by state
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (child, family, and school social workers)*
Median Salary (2015) $42,350 (child, family, and school social workers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Do Child Welfare Caseworkers Do?

Your job might call for you to provide services in the home or school. You may be called on to assess a child's living conditions and family settings or to act as an advocate. You may investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect and make recommendations for treatment plans. Caseworkers also work in the areas of foster care and adoption placements. School social workers work with educators, families and children to help children reach their potential.

What Education and Credentials Do I Need?

Some entry-level positions in the field can be obtained with a bachelor's degree in human services, social work, psychology or sociology or a related field. Many positions will require a master's degree in social work. All states have licensing requirements for social workers, as well. You will generally have to pass an examination and work in the field under supervision to obtain licensing.

What Is the Job Growth Outlook?

According to BLS, employment for child, family and school social workers is expected to grow by approximately 6% during the decade 2014-2024. This is average growth for all occupations, but lower than the 12% growth rate projected for social workers across all specialties. Though the need for these workers is projected to increase, funding sources are projected to decrease, slowing job growth.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

In 2015, the median annual wage for child, family and school social workers was $42,350, according to the BLS. The highest paid positions were in schools and colleges and consulting services.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are many different areas of social work that may appeal to those interested in becoming child welfare caseworkers. If you have a bachelor's degree, you may want to work as a substance abuse counselor, helping people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol live structured lives. Alternatively, you could become a rehabilitation counselor and offer physical and emotional support to people living with long-term injuries and disabilities. Rehabilitation counselors aid people with all aspects of their day-to-day- lives, helping them access social services and find employment, and need to have completed a master's degree program.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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