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What are the steps to becoming a social worker? I would like to work with those in foster care and those who have or are going to be adopted.

I was in foster care and I want to help the system to no longer be broken by being the help these children need. #foster #fostercare #socialwork #socialworking #social-work #medicine #psychology #career

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Roshawnda’s Answer

If you are looking to get into the Social Work field you want identify the area you want to get into and then look for a school that offers a program focused on the area you want to study (mental health, children & families, veterans/military, schools). There is both Bachelor level social work courses and also Masters level courses. Many social workers opt to continue onto a Masters level in order to increase their pay potential and also have a larger potential pool of jobs. You definitely want to be sure to ask about the school's field studies program (it's an internship in the area of social work you want to study and each state has hour requirements that have to be met). You also want to try and network within any national associations as they are great areas to connect with others in the field as are groups on social media. As a side note you definitely want to find ways that work for you to do self care. Social work can be a tough field mentally and it's important to take good care of yourself so you can be there for your clients.
Thank you comment icon Thank you. This helps a lot. I will be looking up what colleges in my area has the appropriate programs. Again, thank you. Lillyen Rose
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Roshawnda’s Answer

If you are looking to get into the Social Work field you want identify the area you want to get into and then look for a school that offers a program focused on the area you want to study (mental health, children & families, veterans/military, schools). There is both Bachelor level social work courses and also Masters level courses. Many social workers opt to continue onto a Masters level in order to increase their pay potential and also have a larger potential pool of jobs. You definitely want to be sure to ask about the school's field studies program (it's an internship in the area of social work you want to study and each state has hour requirements that have to be met). You also want to try and network within any national associations as they are great areas to connect with others in the field as are groups on social media. As a side note you definitely want to find ways that work for you to do self care. Social work can be a tough field mentally and it's important to take good care of yourself so you can be there for your clients.
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Aleta’s Answer

Hi Lillyen,

Social Work is a broad field. I am also a former foster youth. My advice would be to ask yourself in what way do you want to help other foster youth? I don't want to discourage you from becoming a social worker but I know people who went to school and got their master's in social work because they wanted to give back. It wasn't long before they left the job because they were too overwhelmed with cases and it took an emotional toll.

If you are looking to make a lasting change in the foster system please remember, social workers are not in a position that allows them to make the rules. They must follow whatever rules lawmakers pass. The foster system is a broken system. I would encourage you to explore a career in law or politics if you want to help shape the laws surrounding the foster system.
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Aleta’s Answer

Hi Lillyen,

Social Work is a broad field. I am also a former foster youth. My advice would be to ask yourself in what way do you want to help other foster youth? I don't want to discourage you from becoming a social worker but I know people who went to school and got their master's in social work because they wanted to give back. It wasn't long before they left the job because they were too overwhelmed with cases and it took an emotional toll.

If you are looking to make a lasting change in the foster system please remember, social workers are not in a position that allows them to make the rules. They must follow whatever rules lawmakers pass. The foster system is a broken system. I would encourage you to explore a career in law or politics if you want to help shape the laws surrounding the foster system.
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Kim’s Answer

Lillyen,

Here is a link to the California website. It indicates a Masters degree is required.
https://chp.tbe.taleo.net/chp04/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=CHILDRENSBUREAU&cws=1&rid=1338&source=Indeed.com
Here is another position that requires only a Bachelors degree, plus 2 years experience
https://chp.tbe.taleo.net/chp04/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=CHILDRENSBUREAU&cws=1&rid=1346&source=Indeed.com

I'm not sure if these are the positions you are talking about. Is the foster care program operated by the state, or do they contract it out to private companies? Either way, these will give you a general idea of what is required.

Because you came up through the Foster Care program, you know that it has many problems. I would like you to list those problems, and then, try to ask yourself why they exist and what needs to change to make it better. For example, let's say one of the problems is "nobody cares about ME - I'm just another number." Why is that?

From what I have seen of social services, in general, the answer is because each case worker is overwhelmed. They try to juggle a caseload of 50 cases, or more, attend various court hearings, get all the paperwork completed, and go home exhausted each day. The turnover rate is often high. It's not necessarily that they hire the wrong people. The system creates people who seem to not care, when in fact, it's just that they are so overwhelmed, they don't have time to care.

So, my next question to you is, what does it take to make it better? They need more people with smaller case loads, etc. This is often handled at the political level. Funding allocations, etc.

I think it is good that you want to help, but I encourage you to dream beyond that position. Take that position, see for yourself, from an employee's perspective, what the problems are, and then find a way to get involved at a higher level to give the agencies what they need to effectively do their jobs.

Thank you comment icon Thank you!! This is very helpful. I appreciate it. Lillyen Rose
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Dee’s Answer

There are so many opportunities to help foster kids/families. My recommendation before becoming a social worker is to research the field and opportunities in your state. You can also look into becoming a CASA volunteer (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
www.casaforchildren.org/‎. It's a great way to help children that are in the system and be an advocate for them. This will surely help in a social work field.
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