6 Standards for Social Workers Practicing in Child Welfare

Many social workers that work in child welfare systems serve some of the most vulnerable children and families across the country. Having played a critical role in these systems, social workers hold an important role to support and strengthen families and to protect children from harm while ensuring their well-being. Here are six standards that social workers in child welfare follow to best do their job:

  1. Ethics and Values. Social workers in child welfare should demonstrate core values such as justice, importance of relationships, integrity and competence.
  2. Professional Development. Social workers should continuously build their skill set in order to bring the best current services to their clients. This can be in the form of participating in educational opportunities and supervising social work interns when possible.
  3. Advocacy. In child welfare, social workers should seek to advocate for resources and systems that will improve services for youth, children and families. Helping clients to effectively use and have access to community resources is an example of what social workers could do.
  4. Assessment. It is important for social workers in child welfare to properly assess a child, youth, and family system to gather important, initial information. Ongoing assessments should be conducted to develop a plan for child welfare services.
  5. Intervention. Through evidence based practices, social workers in child welfare should strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
  6. Family engagement. Social workers in child welfare should engage families, immediate or extended, as partners through the process of assessment, intervention and reunification efforts. Understanding and incorporating the family’s needs and perspective into planning for potential solutions.


All information comes from:


N. (n.d.). NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/childwelfarestandards2012.pdf

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