Have you got what it takes to become a child welfare social worker? Social work in general is a career that not all are suited to.
The challenges and decisions to be made need to dovetail with a compassionate, positive and caring nature regardless of which branch of social work you decide to major on.
Highly demanding – Highly rewarding:
One strand of social work that many agree on being particularly demanding is choosing to become a child welfare social worker.
The core purpose of child welfare and protection work is an individual’s ability to help children not only feel safe, but wherever possible to be safe in their original home environment.
To be effective in such a complex role requires that positive, helpful relationships with “At Risk” children are established and maintained, but there also needs to be a resilience and determination to build relationships with any family members involved while ensuring that the child’s welfare is a priority.
Multiple, individual challenges to contend with:
Each child that comes under your responsibility will have individual issues, concerns and challenges that must be met in a way that is most beneficial for them.
Such a multiplicity of issues that can simultaneously come into play demand that a child welfare social worker requires an abundance of:
- Attention to facts and attention to detail
- Intuitive insight into given situations
- Emotional sensitivity
- The ability to carry out and act upon in-depth analysis
- A hardy resilience and strong determination to see the correct action is taken
A substantial case load:
The budget and staffing constraints a child welfare social worker must contend with certainly does not make their task any easier, and those choosing such a career will find heavy caseloads a part of their working life.
To further challenge these caring individuals, “People and Establishment” management skills need to come to the fore.
On a daily basis a child welfare social worker will have to deal with differing personalities, varying cultural beliefs and values, narratives from family members that may well conflict with the child’s view. and establishing the true identity and intention of all involved.
Add to this an ability to interact with establishments such as the police, law courts, doctors and hospital staff, educational, immigration and housing authorities as well as community and voluntary groups and it is easy to see that a special type of person is required to make a difference in this sector of social work.
Improving children’s well-being:
The goal for such a dedicated individual must be in constantly seeking ways to ensure a child’s safety and well-being.
They will need to contend with mental health issues, domestic violence, substance abuse and misuse as well as learning disabilities.
All such challenges need to be assessed, considered and positive action plans produced.
Make no mistake, such an aim will not come without objection from one source or another. This is once again where determination ‘to do the right thing’ comes strongly into play.
A high bar to set yourself:
In terms of improving the life of children in need, you will need to set yourself a high bar. One that should be viewed as constantly being raised.
Have you got what it takes to become a child welfare social worker?
Any individual interested in such a demanding yet rewarding career path needs to consider the vagaries involved and be assured they have the ability to cope while managing highly complex situations.
The select band who are ready to take up this ever-constant challenge will reap rewards that should make them rightly proud of their role and the assistance given to children in need.