Careers in Social Work With Children

Working with kids can be difficult for some, but social workers must be up to the challenge.
Working with kids can be difficult for some, but social workers must be up to the challenge. (Image: children image by Marzanna Syncerz from

Social workers who deal mostly with children tend to be caring individuals who can greatly improve the lives of young people by helping them cope with issues such as domestic violence, divorce, death and substance abuse. These individuals are trained to be good listeners that can provide solid advice and guidance for kids dealing with these types of problems. Hospitals, schools and government agencies hire social workers to work with children in a variety of settings.

Education Requirements

Social workers who work with children must fulfill certain educational and formal training requirements to obtain employment. Most individuals working in this field have bachelor’s degrees in social work or a related area such as developmental psychology or early-childhood education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many positions, especially those in health-care settings, also require a master’s degree in this area. Many public and private agencies hire only individuals with advanced degrees in the field. A PhD is generally required for a career in research or teaching at the university level.

Personal Qualities

Certain personal qualities are highly valued in social work jobs that deal with children. These qualities include patience, good listening skills, strong communication skills, confidence, enthusiasm and confidence. Child social workers must have experience working with kids and be able to relate to children of different backgrounds and personalities.


Individuals trained in child social work find employment in a wide range of settings, from counseling centers and hospitals to schools and government agencies. Many individuals work with child welfare services for the government, working to improve the quality of life of kids living in dysfunctional and neglectful families. Social workers help kids find loving foster parents, counsel children on a range of issues and investigate cases of abuse. School social workers also aid struggling children develop emotionally and academically so they can reach their full potential. Children’s hospitals employ social workers to help young people cope with life-threatening illnesses and generally make child patients' lives better.


The average salary for a social worker who works with children is $39,530 a year, as of 2008, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Average earnings increase for those with advanced degrees. Job outlook for this career is good and employment opportunities are usually available due to the high turnover rate, according to

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