An adoption social worker is responsible for facilitating the adoption process for both the family that is adopting and the child who is being adopted. These specialized social workers work with children who are not supported by and are legally separated from their biological parents. They can work together with government organizations and/or adoption agencies to place orphaned children in adoptive homes. Social workers specializing in adoption might specialize in either foreign or domestic adoptions, or they might handle both.
This type of social worker could find himself or herself working in a variety of different environments. An adoption social worker will frequently divide work hours between an office, foster homes, adoptive parent homes, schools, hospitals, and other possible workplaces.
Social workers specializing in the adoption process need to be able to find good matches when it comes to connecting children with the right adoptive family. This task will typically involve doing some research on both the child's past and the family and background of the adoptive family. Social workers in such positions might also need to negotiating and counsel the child's birth family to help assess and attend to the child's needs.
In addition to serving as a liaison between child and family, social workers specializing in the adoption process often find themselves working on research and policy development issues related to advocating for orphaned children. They frequently need to work with an adopted child's teachers in school to make sure that the child is performing satisfactorily academically and is receiving any special assistance that is necessary.
It's important for any type of social worker to have excellent communication skills. Typically, someone who goes into this professional will be devoted to helping others and improving the lives of the people that he or she works with. Social workers need to be good listeners, and those who work in adoption should ideally be good with children. Other important skills for social workers in general include strong critical thinking skills, social perceptiveness, problem solving and negotiating skills, and good judgement. Working with children, social workers will need to be patient and learn how to build confidence by showing their concern and commitment.
Every state requires that social workers attain licensure in their profession. While licensing requirements vary by state, licensure will require at least a Bachelor's degree in social work. Some states require social workers to have a Master's degree. Coursework in an academic program in social work will include course titles such as psychology, human behavior, research methods, and social welfare. In addition to academic requirements, aspiring social workers also will typically need to acquire some clinical experience that is supervised by another licensed social worker.
Those who enjoy working with children can go into social work to devote their professional career to advocating for the interests of orphaned children. Working as an adoption social worker is both rewarding and challenging, and it allows social workers to make an enormously positive difference in the lives of both adopted children and adoptive parents.