2023 Guide to Social Workers for Foster Care & Adoption


2023 Job Aid – What’s It Like to Be a Social Worker for Foster Care or Adoption? Everything You Need to Know

Disclaimer

There are multiple reasons why children may need to be removed from their homes. Drug use in the home, abuse, inadequate sanitation, neglect, and more. Foster care social work is about supporting children and families, and working with foster kids to help them live healthy, happy, and productive lives.

Over 600,000 children in the U.S. were served by the foster care system. This safety net gives children a secure place to live when they cannot be left in their homes. Foster care social workers are a big part of how this important child protection program works.

In this article, we’ll look at the career of social work in adoption and the foster care system. For anyone considering a career as a child welfare social worker, the foster care system or an adoption agency are both potential career paths. We’ll look at typical foster social worker duties, job requirements, and salary prospects.

how to work with foster kids

Fostering and Adoption Social Worker

From training foster parents to monitoring a child’s living situation to either reuniting them with their family or placing them with an adopted family, the foster care worker wears many hats.

Adoption social workers are closely related to foster care social workers. Both are concerned with getting children into safe home situations. When it’s not possible to place a child back in their home, the adoption case worker will help find loving permanent homes where children can thrive and move forward.



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Are you a fostering social worker that provides fostering and adoption social work services? Do you have feedback and tips that you’ll like to share with foster care social worker jobs’ seekers? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Table of Contents: Adoption & Foster Care Social Workers

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.

  1. How Does Foster Care Work?
  2. What Does a Foster Care Social Worker Do?
    1. Responsibilities of Social Workers for Foster Care
  3. What Does an Adoption Social Worker Do?
    1. Can Someone Be Both an Adoption and Foster Care Social Worker?
    2. Responsibilities of Adoption Social Workers
  4. Foster Care Social Worker Job Description Examples
  5. Adoption & Foster Care Social Worker Education Requirements
  6. How Much Does a Foster Care and Adoption Social Worker Make?
  7. Conclusion | Adoption and Foster Care Social Worker Jobs
  8. FAQ | Foster Care Social Work



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Would you like to share feedback on best fostering and adoption social worker practices? Is there a foster care social worker job description that you often use when a foster care handbook for supervising social workers that you’ll like to share with other practitioners? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


How Does Foster Care Work? Why is it Important?

Several countries have various versions of foster care. Foster care is a system designed to give children a temporary place to live when they cannot remain in their homes, either due to their parent’s inability to care for them or due to unsafe living conditions.

A foster social worker’s goal is to ensure the child has a secure and nurturing environment until such a time as the child can be safely reunited with their family or placed in an adoptive home.

When a government agency receives an indication that a child may be abused or neglected, or for other reasons (such as a tragedy) they cannot stay in their homes, they will assign the child to a foster family.

Foster families receive compensation and are overseen by the government agency, and will have a foster care case worker monitoring the child’s living arrangements and situation.


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Do you have any questions about a foster care handbook for supervising social workers or what the fostering social worker role in child protection looks like? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

If you are searching for a “foster care social worker near me” you can click here for a tops-down Google search: social workers and foster care near me.


What Does a Foster Care Social Worker Do?  Role of Social Worker in Foster Care

A foster care social work caseworker acts as a coordinator between biological families, foster parents, schools, and the child being supported. They play a key role in keeping the foster care system operating.

In larger government agencies there may be different positions and foster care social worker requirements to handle the many foster care social worker responsibilities. Such as one that only onboards and trains new foster families, and another foster care social work position that does home visits to monitor foster family compliance and the well-being of the children in their care.

In smaller jurisdictions, one social worker for foster care may be handling all of the responsibilities listed below. It’s good for all social work and foster care caseworkers to understand how to handle all these different tasks.

Role of Social Worker in Foster Care & Responsibilities of a Caseworker for Foster Care:

  • Assesses the needs of children in foster care and their families
  • Conducts home visits to monitor child progress and well-being
  • Works with other child protection specialists to determine the best placement for the child
  • Coordinates with the child’s teachers and school to monitor learning progress
  • Recruits, screens, and trains new foster families
  • Monitors and evaluates foster homes to ensure they continue to meet agency standards
  • Works with biological families to help them resolve the issues that required their child to be placed in foster care
  • Oversees reunification with biological family or a suitable adoptive family
  • Represents children in court proceedings
  • Keeps case notes on the child’s situation and submits agency reports



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Would you like to share feedback on how to work with foster kids? Do you have best practices tips on foster care and social work? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Are you an adoption case worker or interested in working with foster kids? You can keep on scrolling down below and reading the various sections, and you can also click on this link “fostering social worker role” for additional Google search resources.


What Does an Adoption Social Worker Do?

An adoption social worker is focused on finding suitable homes for children that need them. They work with biological families and adoptive families to facilitate the adoption process and ensure the child has the emotional support they need during this transition.

The role of a social worker in the adoption process is key. There can be a lot of varying emotions and motivations occurring from different sides during the adoption process. Adoption social workers act as an advocate for the child, ensuring their best interests are served.

An adoption social worker can work with a government agency (such as foster care), or they may work for a private or non-profit adoption agency.

Can Someone Be Both an Adoption and Foster Care Social Worker?

Yes, someone can have a position in both social work in adoption and foster care. Foster care programs will have an adoption component to them for those cases where children cannot be placed back in their original homes.

US foster care and adoption statistics for 2021 show that there were 606,000 children in the foster care system, with 114,000 waiting for adoption and 54,200 that were successfully adopted.

Just under 11% of all children in foster care that year had to have parental rights terminated. This means that foster care social work in adoption is needed to place those children in permanent homes.

Responsibilities of Adoption Social Workers:

  • Conduct home studies and evaluations to assess the suitability of adoptive families
  • Find children that need homes and match them with approved adoptive families
  • Work with and support the birth parents to ensure they understand their rights
  • Give support and counseling to the child and the adoptive family throughout the process
  • Help prepare necessary adoption documentation
  • Monitor the well-being of the child after they have been placed in the new home
  • Create awareness of the need for adoptive families in the community



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If you have any feedback on how we can improve our foster care worker job description or details about social workers and foster care we should add, please reach out and let us know. Contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Foster Care Social Worker Job Description Examples

When searching for “jobs for foster care social worker near me,” you may find the position listed on job search websites as a Family Services Social Worker or a Foster Care Case Manager, in addition to a Foster Care Social Worker.

Here are a few real job posting examples from Indeed.com to give you an idea of what to expect when you become a social worker that works with foster care.

Foster Care Social Worker posting:

foster care social worker near me

Case Manager, Foster Care posting:

foster care social worker responsibilities



Related: Social Work Career Paths for Child Welfare Worker


Adoption & Foster Care Social Worker Education Requirements

If you are seeking information on how to work with foster kids as a social worker, then you will need to know the education and experience requirements.

The foster care social worker requirements for education will typically only require a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in social work, human services, behavioral sciences, or a related field.

If you want to advance and move into more supervisory positions in foster care and social work, then you may want to get a master’s degree in social work or a related human services field.

You may also be interested in getting a certification as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) to meet the qualifications of some foster care jobs. An LCSW has met the requirements for the ability to diagnose and treat mental health conditions, and they also must hold a master’s degree in social work or a related field.  

Getting a position as a social worker that works with foster care will also usually require at least one or more years of social work casework experience.



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How Much Does a Foster Care and Adoption Social Worker Make?

How much can you make in the role of social worker in foster care? It will vary according to country and state or province, but you can get a general idea of what to expect in the salary figures below.

According to Salary.com, someone in foster care social work in the U.S. will typically earn between $44,284 and $55,269 per year.

The salary range for an adoption social worker in the U.S. is between $34,258 and $46,745 per year.



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Do you have any questions about becoming a social worker for foster care or the role of social worker in adoption process facilitation? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.


Conclusion | Adoption and Foster Care Social Worker Jobs  

For a social worker candidate that is interested in working with children, adoption and foster care social work can be a great career path. Foster care social workers have a mission to protect the safety, physical well-being, and emotional well-being of children and youth.

A social worker for foster care and adoption can also help families with love to give to find and adopt children or give them a caring home temporarily as a foster family.

If you’re still interested in learning more about joining the ranks of social workers for foster care, you can check out more information from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).


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FAQ | Foster Care Social Work

What’s the definition of foster care?

Foster care is a system designed to give children a temporary place to live when they cannot remain in their homes, either due to their parent’s inability to care for them or due to unsafe living conditions.

What does a foster care social worker do?

A foster care caseworker is vital to keeping the foster care system operating. They act as a coordinator between biological families, foster parents, schools, and the child being supported.

Responsibilities of a Caseworker for Foster Care:
•Assesses the needs of children in foster care and their families
•Conducts home visits to monitor child progress
•Works with other child protection specialists
•Coordinates with the child’s teachers and school
•Recruits, screens, and trains new foster families
•Monitors and evaluates foster homes
•Works with biological families to resolve the issues that required their child to be placed in foster care
•Oversees reunification with biological family or an adoptive family
•Represents children in court proceedings
•Keeps case notes on the child’s situation and submits agency reports

What does an adoption social worker do?

An adoption caseworker is focused on finding suitable homes for children that need them. They work with biological families and adoptive families to facilitate the adoption process and ensure the child has the emotional support they need during this transition.

Responsibilities of Adoption Social Workers:
•Conduct home studies and evaluations to assess adoptive families
•Find children that need homes and match them with adoptive families
•Support the birth parents to ensure they understand their rights
•Give support and counseling to the child and the adoptive family
•Help prepare necessary adoption documentation
•Monitor the well-being of the child after they have been placed
•Create awareness of the need for adoptive families in the community

Can social workers be foster parents?

Because a foster care worker interacts on such a personal level with the children they are overseeing, it’s not unusual for one to want to become a foster parent themselves.

In some jurisdictions, foster care social workers cannot also become foster parents. However many jurisdictions do allow this. In some cases, the social worker for foster care will not be allowed to become a foster parent for children being served by the county or jurisdiction for which they work. However, they can become a foster parent for children in other counties or jurisdictions.


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