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Career Profile: Child, Family, and School Social Workers

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.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 335,300 people employed as child, family, and school social workers in the United States. The median annual salary is $48,400. Entry level employees earn approximately $32,300 per year and senior employees earn approximately $80,290 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Consult with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to determine causes of problems, such as truancy and misbehavior, and to implement solutions.
  • Arrange for medical, psychiatric, and other tests that may disclose causes of difficulties and indicate remedial measures.
  • Work in child and adolescent residential institutions.
  • Administer welfare programs.
  • Determine clients' eligibility for financial assistance.
  • Refer clients to community resources for services, such as job placement, debt counseling, legal aid, housing, medical treatment, or financial assistance, and provide concrete information, such as where to go and how to apply.
  • Counsel individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
  • Provide, find, or arrange for support services, such as child care, homemaker service, prenatal care, substance abuse treatment, job training, counseling, or parenting classes to prevent more serious problems from developing.
  • Collect supplementary information needed to assist client, such as employment records, medical records, or school reports.
  • Place children in foster or adoptive homes, institutions, or medical treatment centers.
  • Recommend temporary foster care and advise foster or adoptive parents.
  • Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
  • Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts to help children who face problems, such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
  • Develop and review service plans in consultation with clients and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
  • Address legal issues, such as child abuse and discipline, assisting with hearings and providing testimony to inform custody arrangements.
  • Counsel parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
  • Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services.
  • Evaluate personal characteristics and home conditions of foster home or adoption applicants.
  • Conduct social research.
  • Supervise other social workers.
  • Lead group counseling sessions that provide support in such areas as grief, stress, or chemical dependency.
  • Serve on policy-making committees, assist in community development, and assist client groups by lobbying for solutions to problems.
  • Maintain case history records and prepare reports.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
335,300
Annual Openings:
36,700
Increase in Openings by 2030:
13%
Annual Salary Range:
$32,300 - $80,290
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree