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Adoption Caseworker: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an adoption caseworker. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

An adoption casework finds orphan children an acceptable family, ensuring each can meet the other's needs and that the parents fit the necessary standards. They also engage in a number of interviews with their clients. A bachelor's degree and licensure are typically required for this job.

Essential Information

Adoption caseworkers make arrangements to place children with parents who want to permanently adopt them. Caseworkers assess the needs of both the adoptive parents and children through consultations, home studies, and post-placement visits. Individuals interested in this career must complete a bachelor's degree, often majoring in social work, and may go on to complete a master's degree. All states have licensure requirements for social workers.

Required Education At least a bachelor's degree
Other Requirements All states have licensure requirements
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for child, family and school social workers, including those who arrange adoptions
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $42,350 for child, family and school social workers, including those who arrange adoptions

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Adoption Caseworker Job Description

Adoption caseworkers begin the adoption process by conducting a consultation with the prospective parents. The caseworker discusses the array of options available, such as domestic versus international adoption, independent versus an agency adoption, and how to choose an adoption attorney. Once a decision has been reached, the caseworker performs an adoption home study.

The home study involves an investigation of the prospective parents' health, finance, and criminal background as well as a visit to their home to ensure it's an appropriate environment for raising a child. The caseworker also conducts a series of interviews to determine the type of child the parents want to adopt and how the child will be raised. Through this process, parents learn what it means to be an adoptive parent. The caseworker reports the results and begins the task of finding and placing a child.

After adoption, the caseworker conducts a post-placement visit. The visit consists of an interview with the family and observation of the newly adopted child. The caseworker writes a report about how both parties are adjusting and submits it to a state agency, an adoption agency, or the court. All reports are filed in the child's adoption record, which is maintained by the caseworker.

Education Requirements

Entry-level caseworker training involves enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in social work. This degree program comprises coursework in social work values, ethics, psychology, abnormal psychology, child welfare policies, and social service research methods. It includes participation in a supervised internship.

After graduation, students further their education by completing a master's degree program in social work. This program, which takes approximately two to four years to complete depending on whether attendance is on a part- or full-time basis, prepares students to work in their field. Students learn how to perform field assessments, manage caseloads, and work in managerial roles.

Licensure and Certification Requirements

All states, including the District of Columbia, require some sort of licensure. Both undergraduate and graduate programs should be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), typically two years, or 3,000 hours, of supervised clinical experience is required for licensure; however, each state differs in specific requirements, so thorough research is advised.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the median annual salary earned by child, family, and school social workers, which includes those who arrange adoptions, was $42,350 in May 2015. The employment of such social workers is expected to grow by 6% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS.

Handling and overseeing the adoption process is the duty of an adoption caseworker. Doing background investigations, house visits, and interviews are also their responsibility. A degree in social work is needed in addition to licensure, which has different specifications in each state.

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