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Become A Child Protective Specialist

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Working As A Child Protective Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $39,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Child Protective Specialist Do At Department of Public Health & Human Services

* 1) Assessing child safety; 2) Determining appropriate interventions to control for safety threats; 3) Developing treatment plans for parents to build protective capacities and strengthen families; 4) Implementing timely permanency plans for children that ensure placement stability and meet requirements of established laws; and 5) Assuring positive outcomes with regards to children s and families well-being; including physical and mental health issues.
* Essential Functions (Major Duties or Responsibilities):
* Conducts timely assessments of reports of child maltreatment, in accordance with requirements of state and federal statutes and agency policy, using standardized safety assessment tools and decision-making guides.
* Documents and communicates safety threats to all involved, including preparation of affidavits for District Court when necessary.
* Provides appropriate level of intervention to assure safety of all families in need of Child Protective Services (CPS); continuously reviews progress made by families to eliminate safety threats.
* Places child(ren) in out-of-home care, when necessary, and ensures that the placement is safe and complies with statutory and policy preferences and is in the best interests of the child(ren).
* Identifies available resources and connects families and children to these resources.
* Engages families and the child(ren) to ensure the safety of the child through a variety of methods; such as, personal contact, court ordered treatment plan service provision, and family group decision-making meetings to name a few.
* Permanency Plans for Children
* Engages families in the establishment of a permanency plan when needed and required, and assures plan follows order of placement preference as set forth in statute and policy.
* Provides ongoing reasonable efforts to implement the permanency plan in a timely manner

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How To Become A Child Protective Specialist

Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.


A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. However, some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.

A BSW prepares students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. These programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy, and ethics in social work. All programs require students to complete supervised fieldwork or an internship.

Some positions require a master’s degree in social work (MSW), which generally takes 2 years to complete. Master’s degree programs in social work prepare students for work in their chosen specialty by developing clinical assessment and management skills. All programs require students to complete a supervised practicum or an internship.

A bachelor’s degree in social work is not required in order to enter a master’s degree program in social work. Although a degree in almost any major is acceptable, courses in psychology, sociology, economics, and political science are recommended. Some programs allow graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work to earn their master’s degree in 1 year.

In 2015, there were more than 500 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 200 master’s degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Some universities offer doctoral programs in social work, where students can earn a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) or a Ph.D. Most doctoral programs in social work require students to have a master’s in social work and experience in the field. Many doctor’s students go on to work as postsecondary teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states have licensure or certification requirements for nonclinical social workers. Requirements vary by state.

All states require clinical social workers to be licensed. However, some states provide exemptions for clinical social workers who work in government agencies. Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires a master’s degree in social work and a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience after graduation. After completing their supervised experience, clinical social workers must pass a clinical exam to be licensed.

Because licensing requirements vary by state, those interested should contact their state board. For more information about regulatory licensure boards by state, contact the Association of Social Work Boards.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives. To effectively help, social workers must be able to listen to and understand their clients’ needs.

Empathy. Social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different groups of people is essential for social workers. They need strong people skills to foster healthy and productive relationships with their clients and colleagues.

Organizational skills. Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment.

Problem-solving skills. Social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems.

Time-management skills. Social workers often have many clients and administrative responsibilities. They must effectively manage their time to provide adequate service to all of their clients.

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Child Protective Specialist jobs

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Child Protective Specialist Career Paths

Child Protective Specialist
Case Planner Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Child Protective Investigator Service Counselor Family Service Counselor
Case Management Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Director Educator
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Child Welfare Specialist Case Manager Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Therapist
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Medical Social Worker Clinical Social Worker Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Social Worker
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Case Planner Health Careers Instructor Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Education Director Case Manager
Family Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Foster Care Worker Career Coordinator Career Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Human Resources Generalist Case Manager
Housing Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Child Welfare Specialist Program Coordinator Behavioral Specialist
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Therapist Registered Nurse Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Social Worker Mental Health Clinician Clinical Social Worker
Senior Social Worker
6 Yearsyrs
Clinician Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Therapist Family Counselor Social Worker
Social Services Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Program Coordinator Social Worker
Social Work Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Service Coordinator Social Worker
Social Work Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
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Child Protective Specialist Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Cheyenne

  • Danish

  • Wolof

  • Bosnian

  • German

  • Burmese

  • Hindi

  • Malayalam

  • Arabic

  • Korean

  • Italian

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Child Protective Specialist

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Child Protective Specialist Education

Child Protective Specialist

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Top Skills for A Child Protective Specialist


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Top Child Protective Specialist Skills

  1. Family Court
  2. Law Enforcement Officials
  3. Child Protective
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide necessary services for the family; either mandated by family court, or voluntary agreement
  • Maintained collaboration with child protective services and law enforcement officials, medical professionals, and judicial/legal resources.
  • Supervised up to 12 Child Protective Specialists (CPS) and provided case directives to be carried out.
  • Educate families about domestic violence, anger management, mental health, homemaking, life skills, and parenting.
  • Completed field visits to investigate allegations of abuse and/or neglect.

Top Child Protective Specialist Employers

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