People may wonder which profession in our society is dedicated to the well-being of children: the answer is social work in the field of Child Welfare. Child welfare is a segment of social work that is vital to the health and stability of the children and families in our society. These social workers provide a multitude of different services, some of which include working in the foster care system, child protective services, as caseworkers, and as therapists. They work with children and adults alike, making it their mission to provide the resources and services necessary for children to be in the most safe and healthy environment and situation possible.
Definition of Child Welfare
Child welfare ensures “that children are safe and protected from any harm” (Berg-Weger, 2013). Social workers in this field “protect vulnerable children and help families in need of assistance”, “intervene when children are in danger of neglect or abuse”, and some even arrange “adoptions, locate foster families, or work to get families back together” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). This is the second largest area of social work, especially for those with a bachelor’s degree in social work (Berg-Weger, 2013). The primary purpose of child welfare is to keep children protected and safe from harm (Whitaker, Reich, Reid, Williams, & Woodside, 2004). The secondary purpose is to “provide necessary services to the families of children at risk, to improve conditions in their homes and bring stability to their family units” (Whitaker et al., 2004). According to the National Association of Social Workers, “this system includes both public and private agencies, and works in close partnership with – and relies on – many other community systems, such as educational and mental health systems; financial, housing, and employment assistance; and substance abuse treatment services” (Whitaker et al., 2004). Child welfare includes child protective services, family preservation, foster care, group homes, residential facilities, adoption services, and kinship care programs (Berg-Weger, 2013). The population that child welfare workers work with is children and youth, who have generally been neglected or abused, and the adults involved (parents, foster parents, families, etc.) (Berg-Weger, 2013).
Definition of Social Problem
When most people think of child welfare, the only social problem many think of is alcoholic fathers. This only “scrapes the edge of the iceberg” of the social problems that child welfare workers might have to deal with on a daily basis. Due to the wide range of living conditions and issues that children and families experience in our society, social workers now have many social problems that they must address in this field of practice. The two most common social problems that social workers must deal with are child abuse and child neglect (Berg-Weger, 2013).
According to the National Association of Social Workers, “every day, an average of 2,400...