What is a Child Abuse Specialist?

Child Abuse SpecialistIf you want a career that allows you to help children, you might want to strongly consider becoming a child abuse specialist. Before you choose any job, though, you should find out as much about it as possible. For instance, you should learn about what child abuse specialists do, where they work and the salary and education level of typical workers.

What They Do

Child abuse specialists are actually social workers. As the name implies, they specialize in child abuse cases. In order to determine whether or not a report of child abuse is valid, a child abuse specialist will talk to the child and caregiver in question as well as other people who are involved in the child’s life. Child abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment

If a child abuse specialist determines that a child is being abused, he or she may place the child in a foster home until the child’s caregiver can prove that he or she can offer a safe place for the child. If the child’s caregiver is deemed an unfit parent, the child abuse specialist may need to try finding the child a permanent home.

Where They Work

Child abuse specialists usually work for whatever state they live in. The actual name of the department may be different depending on where you live, one state may have a Department of Human Services, for instance, while another state might have a Child Protective Services department, but the basic function of these departments are very similar. Employees of child welfare departments usually work Monday through Friday, but they may have to work holidays, weekends and evenings occasionally. This mainly depends on the needs of their clients at the time. Most child abuse specialists work in an office setting when they need to do paperwork or computer work, but they also have to spend a fair amount of time outside of the office. This is because this type of social worker may have to make court appearances, attend different types of meetings and visit people who are involved with the cases that they are working on.

Education and Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most social workers need a bachelor’s degree to land a job, and this is also true of child abuse specialists. Depending on where you live and who your employer is, you may be able to get away with majoring in psychology, sociology or another related field. Most child, family and school social workers who work for the state make around $45,000 per year. If you’re lucky enough to get a job with your local government, you may end up making an extra $5,000 or so every year. Child welfare agencies that aren’t affiliated with the government in any way usually pay child abuse specialists $40,000 per year.

Related Resource: Crisis Intervention Specialist

If you have a big heart and have always wanted to do something to help other people, you may want to consider this type of job. There are plenty of openings for child social workers, and starting a career as a child abuse specialist is a great way to help children who are in tough situations.