Job Title: Foster Care And Adoption Social Worker
Education: Bachelor of Social Work (BSW), Concord College, Athens, WV Master of Social Work (MSW), WEst Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Previous Experience: I worked as an in-home service provider prior to my current position. I provided in home parenting instruction to families at risk of their children being removed due to child protective service issues. I also provided in-home counseling and therapy services to youth who were at risk of out of home placement.
Job Tasks: I currently work for a non-profit agency that provides a multitude of services throughout the state of West Virginia. The agency I work with has several child emergency shelters for children who need a place to stay. Children are usually at the shelters for ninety days or less. We also provide after school services to low income children. We provide support for pregnant mothers as well as services for children with developmental delays that are between the ages of birth to three.
My main duties are that of a home finder. As a home finder it is my responsiblity to obtain new foster and adoptive homes. In order for a family to be approved as an adoptive or foster family they have to go through a training process. It is my job to train the families and to complete a home study. A home study is a snap shot of that families life. It looks into their past, looks at their job history, where they are now. It looks to ensure that they have a stable home to offer a child in need. Due to foster and adoptive families differing schedules, I don't have a typical 8 to 4 job. There are often days that I work past seven or eight at night meeting with families. The home study and training process usually takes three to four months so I have fun getting to know the families and forging a realtionship with them.
I also get to work with birthmothers. I provide counseling with the mothers and give them information so that they can decide whether they are going to parent a child or develop an adoption plan. If they decided to do an adoption plan I show them my families profiles and they are able to choose a family for their child. It is rewarding when a family is chosen for a child and you get to witness that families dreams come true.
There is also a lot of clerical work that goes along with my job. I usually spend five or six hours a day behind a computer completing paperwork. However, I enjoy the three or more hours that I get to spend with the family. I also often travel to my families home but there is not a lot of extensive traveling with my job.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is getting to do something that is rewarding. It is amazing when a family is able to adopt a child. I feel that I am making a difference in the lives of many people.
I don't enjoy the abnormal hours. Sometimes I don't get to spend the evening with my family because I need to work late. We are also on call 24//7 and sometimes it is difficult to make plans due to being on call.
1. Take as many classes as you can on treatment planning and assessments. You are always completing treatment or service plans in this field.
2. Also take advantage of any opportunity that you get in your counseling or interviewing classes to role play. As painful as role playing is it can also be very helpful.
Additional Thoughts: Social Work is a demanding profession with a high rate of burnout however it can also be an extremely rewarding profession.
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