The foster care system is complicated. One thing that many adoptive and foster families don’t realize before their journey starts is just how many professionals they need to work with. But there’s one professional that may be most important person to work with during the entire process that you’ll need to become familiar with.
Foster and adoption social workers are the glue that hold the adoption process together, and they are one of the key figures in the foster care system. Every day, they work tirelessly to provide the kind of support foster children and adoptive parents need from start to finish. Without foster care social workers, hopeful families would be left struggling throughout the entire process.
But, if you’re like most families, you might not know what exactly makes their services so important or how to work with one. Here, you’ll find answers to all of your most important questions in this guide to foster care adoption social workers.
What Does a Fostering and Adoption Social Worker Do?
Fostering and adoption social workers, also known as caseworkers, are licensed professionals who help children in foster care, their biological parents and the hopeful families who plan to adopt or foster them. Some of their important responsibilities include:
- Keeping an eye on living conditions
- Offering vital support to foster parents in need of help
- Monitoring a child’s progress in their new home
- Making sure all of a child’s needs (emotional, physical, financial) are being met
- Supporting reunification of families
- Determining the best fit for a foster child, whether that’s with a biological family or living with a foster parent
- Support biological parents in creating and working toward a reunification plan
- Help birth parents get to know the foster families
- And so much more
Becoming an adoption and foster care specialist isn’t easy, and the job itself can be challenging and unpredictable. Every child who has been placed into foster care has some history of trauma, which means that their caseworkers have the most important job of all: helping a child heal.
Fostering and adoption specialists are always doing the best they can, but like foster families, they might face many obstacles along the way.
With all that being said, every foster care professional is passionate about the work that they do and the care they provide to families and children. When you work with a foster care and adoption social worker, please don’t forget to thank them for everything that they do and the sacrifices that they make every day.
How Will Foster and Adoptive Families Work with a Social Worker?
When you decide to get involved in the foster care system, whether as a foster parent or adoptive family, a foster care adoption social worker will be assigned to you. So, you don’t actually need to look for one on your own. Your social worker will be your primary point of contact throughout the foster care and adoption process. They’ll be the one you reach out to about any of your questions or concerns. They can answer just about any question, so don’t be afraid to ask them. They’ve seen just about anything, so your situation probably won’t be all that new to them.
How Can You Build a Relationship with Your Social Worker?
Please remember that your foster and adoption social worker is on your side, and they want to do everything they can to support you. We know that, at many points in the process, it can be stressful to be an adoptive or foster parent. And there can be a great deal of uncertainty in fostering and fostering to adopt, so it’s easy to get frustrated. Many things will be out of your hands, and there’s only so much hoping you can do.
But, it can be just as overwhelming, if not more so, to be in charge of the social work role in fostering and adoption. Most people assume that social workers have the power to make just about anything happen. But the truth is that there’s only so much they can influence, and they have to adhere to state laws just like you do. It’s important to remember that you are all on the same page and on the same team. If there’s anything you can do to make their job a little easier, like by being as accommodating as possible, that will go a long way.
Just like with any relationship, you should always be making an effort to communicate with your child’s social worker. Social workers aren’t mind readers, so they won’t know if anything is wrong if you don’t tell them. If you have any questions or concerns, about your child or anything at all related to the foster adoption process, don’t be afraid to reach out.
If you have any other questions about the roles social workers play in adoption, please don’t be afraid to reach out to a local foster care professional near you for more information. Remember, your social worker wants you to succeed just as much as you do.