The Permanency Worker
The Permanency Worker also known as the Adoption Worker or Adoption Placement worker specializes in evaluating potential homes for children who are in foster care or state care. This will usually include individually tailored assistance for children as they transition into an adoptive home as well as referrals for post-adoptive care while the child goes through their adjustment period. This process involves a substantial amount of understanding about the child’s mental and emotional makeup, their specific needs and the overall psychological and emotional makeup of the adoptive family. A key consideration is to observe and interpret with depth and empathy, the way the child and family interact and also what additional needs a child may have. Understanding the child’s needs intimately will help give the family the necessary tools to provide full support to the child in all the ways they will need.
The Permanency Worker will have many duties which may include, but are not limited to:
- Assessing adoptive families.
- In-depth understanding of the strengths and needs of potential adoptive child.
- Case planning with families, with specific goals to be met.
- Attending courtroom appearances.
- Performing regular supervised visits between child and family.
- Attending professional development conferences on adoption.
- Following all state and federal laws around adoptions and child safety.
- Performing post-adoptive visitations between child and family to ensure the placement is going well.
- Ensuring that a case plan will include care for cultural competency around the child’s cultural, ethnic and religious background and any specific physical or mental health needs.
How this Job Services Human Beings
The Permanency Worker performs a vital service in society by helping to find permanent homes for children who are in state care. This impacts the lives of the children and their adoptive families in a profound and lasting manner. It also impacts society in a wonderfully positive way.
Impact on Society
In ages past, city streets were filled with children who were orphans and were without any means for safety or survival but what little they could eke out on the margins of society. These children would be victimized and would often turn to lives of crime in order to survive. This heartbreaking phenomenon has been greatly minimized by modern policies around state care of children along with adoption. Many families are unable to have children or want to raise children who for various reasons cannot be raised by their own biological parents. This process has a profoundly positive impact on society. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of how adoption can make a massive impact on society is the example of Steve Jobs who founded Apple. He was adopted and has left a lasting imprint on society that has continued to change and shape our world for years after his death. Not all children will have that level of influence on society of course, but every child deserves to have a loving family so they can make their way in the world.
Impact on Family
Families who want to adopt children are often unable to have children of their own. For those who cannot have children of their own, few things are more wonderful than the ability to adopt a child who is in need of a loving family. Bringing a child into the home changes everything and creates a lasting bond that forever changes the family, bringing joy and fulfillment in a way that few things in life do. It is hard to overstate the overwhelmingly positive impact that the Permanency Worker has on the lives of adoptive families.
Impact on Individual
For the child who is in state care, the desire for love, stability and attention are hard to adequately describe. Finding a loving family to adopt them and having parents who love and care for them fulfill a deeply human need that is at the core of what it is to be a human being. For these children, the Permanency Worker is like a guardian angel that helps the child to find their way home, to a home they never knew they had and into a loving family that they have always dreamed they could be a part of. Few people in life will have the impact that the Permanency Worker did on the adoptive child, and it is an impact that is so deeply personal and fulfilling that few occupations will ever touch an individual’s life the way that a Permanency Worker will with an adoptive child.
While some states will accept a Bachelor’s degree in order to become a Permanency Worker, most require that you have a minimum of a Master’s degree. While human services related degrees are sometimes enough, the preferred degree for this position is the Master of Social Work degree (MSW) and a specialization in Child Welfare or Adoption and Permanency is considered ideal by most employers.
Range of salaries
According to the BLS, the median salary for the Permanency Worker is $42,480 per year. This will vary tremendously based upon the location in which you work as well as your educational background, your tenure with the employer and the kind of agency you work at such as private vs. public adoptions.
To begin your journey towards helping children find permanent adoptive homes you will need to begin by getting your Bachelor’s degree in a social sciences field. While a degree in psychology, counseling, human services or sociology can get you into a Master of Social Work program, most MSW programs will prefer candidates with a Bachelor’s of Social Work (BSW) degree. Once you have your BSW, you will want to look for MSW programs that will give you a focus on Child Welfare or Adoption to give you specially tailored training to help prepare you for your profession. Having an excellent educational background can really give you the edge both in terms of standing out to a prospective employer and also so that you have the skill set and knowledge to make a smooth transition from academia to the professional world. You can learn more about MSW programs in your state by clicking here.