Child Protection Services (CPS) Social Worker Job Description
Child Protection Services (CPS) social workers protect children who are vulnerable and help families who are in need of assistance. It is the job of a child and family social worker to visit families, make sure that children are being treated fairly and with dignity, and teach responsible parenting skills to those parents who need them.
CPS social workers investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect. They make home visits, interview family members, and determine if state intervention is necessary. They may arrange an alternative living situation for the child, if he or she is determined to be at risk, and may arrange for foster care or residential placement (foster care / residential placement is meant to be a short-term living placement). If, after the child is put in foster care and a family court determines that it is still not safe for a child to return home to a parent, adoption planning may be arranged (adoption is a more permanent living arrangement with a person who is not the child’s primary parent).
Places of Employment and Degrees Required
CPS social workers are usually employed by state agencies, although like many social workers, they often work in a number of different locations such as schools and hospitals. CPS social workers spend a lot of time “in the field,” and visit family’s homes to determine whether a child is safe.
A bachelor’s degree is required for work in most state child protection services.
Many social workers consider child and family services to be the most important—and most emotionally taxing—field in all of social work. CPS social workers are frequently exposed to stories and experiences that are extremely upsetting.
That, however, is why the work is so important. When a child is being mistreated, a child and family social worker has the opportunity to provide safety to a child and teach parenting skills to a caregiver. That simple intervention can have positive effects that last a lifetime. When a child has nobody else to stand up for him or her, a social worker may make arrangements that keep the child safe from harm.