Child, Family, and School Social Workers

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About the Job

Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers.

It is also Called

  • Youth Services Specialist
  • Youth Advocate
  • Social Worker
  • School Social Worker
  • Public Housing Community Relations and Services Advisor
  • Protective Services Social Worker
  • Program Support Specialist
  • Post Adoption Coordinator
  • Medical Social Worker
  • Licensed Social Worker
View All

What They Do

  • Conduct social research.
  • Work in child and adolescent residential institutions.
  • Serve on policy-making committees, assist in community development, and assist client groups by lobbying for solutions to problems.
  • Determine clients' eligibility for financial assistance.
  • Evaluate personal characteristics and home conditions of foster home or adoption applicants.
  • Place children in foster or adoptive homes, institutions, or medical treatment centers.
  • Lead group counseling sessions that provide support in such areas as grief, stress, or chemical dependency.
  • Supervise other social workers.
  • Recommend temporary foster care and advise foster or adoptive parents.
  • Administer welfare programs.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SE.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Enterprising environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Wages

In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $42,860 with most people making between $26,970 and $62,270

Outlook

0.92%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 16,870 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 18,420 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 155 openings due to growth and about 405 replacement openings for approximately 560 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education