Youth caseworkers are specialists within the broader category of social and human service assistants. They work closely with social workers, healthcare personnel and other professionals to provide much-needed services to children and teens and aid in the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Professionals in nursing, social work, psychology or psychiatry roles usually supervise the work of youth caseworkers.
Job Outlook for Youth Caseworkers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for youth caseworkers and other social service workers are expected to grow nearly 23% from 2008 through 2018, which is much faster than the average for all jobs. Career prospects are best for those with a college education.
The responsibilities of a youth caseworker might include assessing clients’ needs and eligibility for social services; collaborating with schools, law enforcement or child welfare services; organizing and leading after-school group activities; and coordinating counseling or crisis intervention as required. Youth caseworkers must maintain detailed case notes and file ongoing reports as required.
Many youth caseworkers are employed in social services offices, clinics and hospitals, while others may work in group homes, shelters or day programs. Depending on the agency they work for, youth caseworkers may spend their days in an office setting or go out in the field.
Children who are assigned youth caseworkers often have an unstable home life or other difficult circumstances; they may have been physically or emotionally abused, or their families may be facing financial or legal hardships. If you are considering a career as a youth caseworker, it’s important to be sympathetic and compassionate, and enjoy working/interacting with young people and their families. You should be able to handle tough situations, as well as be diplomatic, outgoing and understanding.
Youth Caseworker Salary Potential
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that youth caseworkers and other social and human service assistants earned a median salary of $27,940 in May 2009. Their annual earnings ranged from a low of $18,300 to a high of $44,760, with the middle 50% earning between $22,230 and $35,620. Associate’s degree holders often begin their careers at the low to lower-middle salary range and progress to the upper end of the pay scale through experience or advanced education.
Education and Training
Most youth caseworkers hold a minimum of a high school degree; however, most agencies prefer for their employees to have some college education, such as an associate’s degree.
- Identify the causes, consequences and prevention of juvenile delinquency.
- Assess current strategies and practices for dealing with youth behavioral issues.
- Recognize the warning signs of criminal or violent tendencies in children.
- Use computers to log case notes and submit reports.
- Apply associate’s course credits toward a bachelor’s degree.
Is Job as a Youth Caseworker Right for You?
If you have a strong desire to help young people, effective communication skills, maturity and the ability to manage time effectively, then a youth caseworker job may be the career for you.