To become a child abuse intervention specialist, you typically need a college degree in social work. Educational options can help you decide if this is the right path for you, along with details concerning salary, projected job growth, job duties, and other additional requirements.
Child abuse intervention specialists are licensed social workers who deal exclusively with child abuse cases. If abuse is suspected, the child abuse specialist will investigate and decide on a plan of action. Typically, a bachelor's degree, state licensing or certification, and extensive experience is required.
|Required Education||A bachelor's or master's degree in social work or social services and completion of a crisis-intervention training program|
|Additional Requirements||Certification/licensure and experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||12% (for social workers)|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$42,350 (for child, family & school social workers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Child Abuse Intervention Specialist Job Description
Generally, child abuse intervention specialists work for a state's Child Protective Services (CPS) department. CPS is an agency that investigates potentially dangerous family situations and determines whether children are living in an unsafe environment. They are then able to intervene on behalf of the state by interviewing the parents and relatives as well as investigating the child's living conditions to better determine the welfare of the child.
A child abuse intervention specialist is a CPS agent who works exclusively with child abuse cases. Child abuse is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional distress, as well as cases involving neglect and abandonment. Child abuse intervention specialists must know how to assess and handle a variety of cases and situations. The role requires empathy and strong communication skills.
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Child Abuse Intervention Specialist Requirements
All social worker positions require at least a bachelor's degree in social services or a comparable discipline. Some jobs may accept applicants with degrees in psychology or sociology. In addition, the candidate must have extensive experience as a child services counselor. Some employers require a master's degree. Child abuse intervention specialists must also complete a crisis-intervention training program. These programs are typically offered by the employer.
Because of the potential for involvement in volatile or hostile situations, child abuse intervention specialists can benefit from additional training in mediation and negotiation. They must be capable of remaining calm and communicative during visitations.
Salary Information for Child Abuse Intervention Specialists
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), child, family, and school social workers earned a median annual salary of $42,350 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Those who worked for the state government in 2015 earned an average of $45,730 a year, while those who worked for local governments earned an average of $52,810 annually. The BLS predicts 12% job growth for all social workers between 2014 and 2024; however, job availability may be limited in some areas by government budgetary constraints.
A bachelor's or master's degree--in addition to employment training--is needed to fulfill a position as a child abuse intervention specialist. Although job requirements and the expected job increase can be influential in your decision, you may also want to consider salaries that differ for state and local government jobs before pursuing a profession in social work.