Social worker licensing requirements can vary from state to state. Some states require licensing, some do not. If you are unable to find out if your state requires a social worker to be licensed, contact the National Association of Social Workers at 202-408-8600 and they can guide to what the requirements are in your state.
There are three main types of social workers. There are medical/public health social workers, mental health social workers, and child, family and school social workers. Social workers may work for a public, government organization, a hospital, school, adoption agency, or other organization as well as working for themselves in their own business.
A social worker in the adoption field has the most important job of making the decision whether a person or couple is approved to adopt a child or not. That social worker must put the needs of the child first and protect them and their rights when making this important decision. Social workers in the adoption field counsel and work with pregnant women, their families and others who are involved in the decision whether to parent or make an adoption plan. Adoption social workers also work with and counsel potential adoptive parents. Many social workers also counsel and work with adoptive parents, their families, birth parents, their families, adopted children, siblings and others involved after an adoption placement.
One of the social workers jobs in the adoption process is to complete an adoption home study report on the potential adoptive parents. This report should go into the potential adoptive parents history of their lives including, but not limited to, the person or couple's health, mental health, financial background, criminal background, social background and any other aspect of their live that might affect a child, their family or the adoption of that child. This report is usually completed after several meetings with the potential adoptive parents as well as a home visit to make sure the family home is a safe and acceptable place to raise a child. Most often, social workers also visit the home one or more times after the child is place to make sure all is going well and to see if they are in need of any additional help or resources.
Social workers may work with a public adoption agency or private adoption agency and each home study report may have to have certain aspects as per their state laws, agency requirements and adoption program.. Agencies that work with international adoption have even more strict rules and regulations to follow when doing a home study report. Each country may require different wording on a home study report, specific information on the report and even certain licensing requirements of social workers.
In almost every adoption case in the United States, an adoption social worker has been involved and has the opportunity to protect the child as well as making sure that the child has a happy, healthy, loving home to grow up in.