Job Title: Social Worker
Type of Company: A state agency that protects children from abuse and neglect and funds and monitors foster care arrangements.
Education: University of New Hampshire and Salem State College
Previous Experience: I was director of social services at a nursing home and a case worker at a child welfare agency.
Job Tasks: My responsibilities are extensive, even in summary. I recruit and assess foster parents and their homes; run criminal checks on applicants and foster parents and write subsequent waivers for approval if they have a criminal history; counsel and enlist families so they can support the children; teach foster parent training 30-60 hours minimum each year; maintain records on a timely basis listing all my contacts with foster parents and recruits; attend reviews on foster care children and foster parents/homes-monthly; visit foster parents monthly or bi-monthly at their homes; write up annual evaluations on the 30-40 homes assigned; help caseworkers to support and write plans for supplemental income for foster parents; advocate for and complete daycare plans for children in foster homes.
I also complete references and type home studies of approximately 10 pages; attend staff meetings and social work trainings programs related to the job ; plan summer events and Christmas events for foster children; attend state house events to lobby for foster parents annually at minimum; answer and dictate all calls, postal mailings, emails etc; respond to foster home/child crisis as they arise including their biological families
I am responsible, as well, for finding placements for children, on a weekly assigned day, and I coordinate letters and clothes needed to support the first time placements.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is training people who are excited about becoming foster parents for the department. It is also exciting to get to know the people on a deeper level, building a relationship of trust and having them rely on me for support and guidance. They are lovely people and so giving of their hearts and homes.
The worst part of the job is seeing children move around because there is not enough money to get the homes that they need for their particular needs.
Job Tips: Working as a caseworker is different from working with foster families. You have to like to travel far and often, go to court, write reports, carry children around in your car and meet with people who have drug and domestic violence problems. If you do not like the idea of working with mentally ill or disabled people, this is not the job for you. You have to be able to NOT judge people, their status, lifestyle and their addictions.
Additional Thoughts: First, follow your passion despite the income unless you will be a sole provider for your household income. Social work is great because you can work with people of any age or type of problem that you can imagine. And the jobs are well-paid. Getting an MSW or a related Master's is a must these days.
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