Foster Care Social Worker Job Description
Every child needs stability and safety. In certain situations, a child may need to be temporarily separated from his or her parents. There can be many reasons for the separation—perhaps a parent may be addicted to drugs, may be in an Orange County Treatment Center, or may be incarcerated, or may be deemed unfit due to mental illness. Whatever the reason, the state may decide that a child’s welfare is in danger, and determine that the child would be safer if he or she temporarily lived away from his or her parents. Foster care provides a temporary shelter for a child who is not safe in his or her current living environment. Assisting with the looking out for the welfare of this child is part of the Foster Care Social Worker Job Description.
What Does A Foster Care Social Worker Do?
A foster care social worker arranges for children and minors to live in foster homes, and may be provide counseling or other services to the child during the period of time the child is away from the family.
When a state agency determines that a child or minor has been harmed, or is “at risk” of being harmed, the agency may go to a family court to petition the state to place the child in a foster home. Foster homes provide temporary housing and care for a child or minor in a harmful or threatening situation, and are run by individuals who have undergone extensive evaluations and completed a comprehensive licensing process. Foster care is meant to be a temporary solution to the child’s living situation, and the hope is that the child will find a permanent arrangement with a parent, grandparent or aunt or uncle, or other closely-related guardian.
Very often, people who are unfamiliar with foster care imagine that it is only small children who need temporary supervision. However, many times it is teenagers who are in need. A foster home can provide a safe shelter to grow and mature and develop meaningful relationships with caregivers, and experience a stability that may have been absent during the teen’s early years.
Children can stay in foster care for varying periods of time, depending on the situation. Children may be in foster care for an extended period of time; in other circumstances, they may only be in foster care for a single night. During that time, a child foster care social worker will check up on the child, to be certain that the child is being treated fairly and respectfully.
What Is the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption?
Many people are uncertain of the differences between foster care and adoption. In foster care, a child is treated and cared for as a member of the family, but the child is legally a ward of the state. They may continue to see their birth parents during this time, or they may not. In an adoption, the child takes the name of the adopting family, and becomes the new family’s legal child, and is no longer considered the legal child of the birth parents.
Where Foster Care Social Workers Are Employed
Social workers who help with foster care issues often work for state agencies or as individual Orange County psychologists. However, like most others, social workers often work “in the field,” meaning that they will travel to the child’s foster home to conduct an interview and ensure the welfare of the child, or go to a birth parents house to learn more about the parent’s situation.
How Foster Care Social Workers Make a Difference
Foster care social workers can provide safety in a child’s time of need. Many children and teens find themselves without an ally, and without someone who will fight for their well-being. A foster care social worker can provide time and attention that will ensure the child’s welfare.