Jobs in an Adoption Agency: Career and Salary Facts
Does the idea of finding homes for infants and children who need families appeal to you? Would you find it rewarding to help potential parents? Are you troubled by the number of orphaned children in other countries, and do you want to help them find permanent homes in the U.S.? If so, you might want to consider working for an adoption agency. Schools offering Social & Community Services degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Jobs are Available in an Adoption Agency?
Adoption agencies frequently hire social workers to fill the roles of adoption social workers, although exact job titles can vary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), social workers working in adoption services might be referred to as child welfare social workers or family services social workers (www.bls.gov).
Employers might include public and private adoption agencies licensed by the state or intercountry adoption agencies that facilitate the adoption of a child born in another country by a family in the U.S. According to a February 2012 search of job postings on CareerBuilder.com, social workers can specialize in various stages of the adoption process, including pre- or post-adoption services.
What Duties Might I Perform?
As a social worker employed by an adoption agency, you might meet with prospective adoptive families and evaluate their suitability to adopt. You could conduct home studies and have a role in matching children with families. You also might conduct follow-up visits with families and children once the adoption process is under way.
Additionally, you might manage a caseload of prospective families as well as children waiting for adoption. Other typical duties include providing counseling, training and other types of support to adoptive families, in addition to maintaining case records and writing reports.
Will I Need a Degree or License?
The BLS states that you might be able to find an entry-level social work position in a community agency with a bachelor's degree in social work; however, it's more likely that you'll need a master's degree in the field. Social workers in all states need to be licensed, registered or certified; however, requirements vary by state.
A search of job postings on CareerBuilder.com in February 2012 confirmed that while a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field might be acceptable to work in an adoption agency, a master's degree is often preferred. In many cases, a minimum number of years' experience is required. Social worker jobs at adoption agencies also tend to require a driver's license since you might drive to families' homes or other locations in carrying out your duties.
What Salary Can I Expect?
Your salary likely will depend on your level of education and experience. Other factors might include whether you work for an independent private agency, a nonprofit agency, directly for the government or for a government-funded organization. The median salary for social workers specializing in child or family services, such as adoption services, was $40,210 per year, according to a May 2010 BLS report. PayScale.com reported in February 2012 that the median salary for permanently employed people in the adoption and foster care services industry was $39,109.
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