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Career and Education Opportunities for Child and Family Services Workers in Tampa, Florida

Child and family services workers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Tampa, Florida area. There are currently 10,030 working child and family services workers in Florida; this should grow by 29% to 12,970 working child and family services workers in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for child and family services workers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.3% over the next eight years. In general, child and family services workers provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children.

Child and family services workers earn approximately $18 hourly or $37,500 annually on average in Florida. Nationally they average about $19 per hour or $39,530 per year. Child and family services workers earn less than people working in the category of Social Work and Community Services generally in Florida and less than people in the Social Work and Community Services category nationally. Child and family services workers work in a variety of jobs, including: child welfare worker, at-risk specialist, and case planner.

There are fifty-four schools of higher education in the Tampa area, including three within twenty-five miles of Tampa where you can get a degree to start your career as a child and family services worker. Child and family services workers usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a child and family services worker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Child and Family Services Worker

Child and Family Services Worker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, child and family services workers provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. They also may assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children.

Child and family services workers counsel individuals or communities regarding issues including mental health or medical care. They also interview clients individually or in groups, assessing their situations and problems, to establish what services are used to meet their needs. Equally important, child and family services workers have to furnish or manage support services, such as child care, homemaker service, prenatal care, and substance abuse classes, to stop more serious problems from developing. They are often called upon to serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics and other contacts, to help children who face problems such as disabilities or poverty. They are expected to design and review service plans in consultation with clients, and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided. Finally, child and family services workers confer with parents and other school personnel to establish causes of problems such as truancy and misbehavior, and to execute solutions.

Every day, child and family services workers are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for child and family services workers to counsel students whose behavior or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services. They are often called upon to address legal issues. They also conduct social research. Somewhat less frequently, child and family services workers are also expected to serve on policymaking committees, help in community development, and assist client groups by lobbying for solutions to problems.

Child and family services workers sometimes are asked to recommend temporary foster care and advise foster or adoptive parents. They also have to be able to work in child and adolescent residential institutions and administer welfare programs. And finally, they sometimes have to counsel students whose behavior or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services.

Like many other jobs, child and family services workers must have a strong concern for others and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Tampa include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • Mental Health Counselor. Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.
  • Probation Officer. Provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.
  • Religious Activities Director. Direct and coordinate activities of a denominational group to meet religious needs of students. Plan, direct, or coordinate church school programs designed to promote religious education among church membership. May provide counseling and guidance relative to marital, health, and religious problems.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Child and Family Services Worker Training

Saint Leo University - Saint Leo, FL

Saint Leo University, 33701 State Road 52, Saint Leo, FL 33574-6665. Saint Leo University is a large university located in Saint Leo, Florida. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,442 students and an admission rate of 73%. Saint Leo University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Southeastern University - Lakeland, FL

Southeastern University, 1000 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33801-6034. Southeastern University is a small university located in Lakeland, Florida. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,075 students. Southeastern University has a bachelor's degree program in Social Work.

University of South Florida - Tampa, FL

University of South Florida, 4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620-9951. University of South Florida is a large university located in Tampa, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 46,174 students and an admission rate of 46%. University of South Florida has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Social Work which graduated 109 and seventy-two students respectively in 2008.

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LOCATION INFORMATION: Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
Tampa, Florida photo by Caltrop

Tampa is located in Hillsborough County, Florida. It has a population of over 340,882, which has grown by 12.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tampa, 95, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Tampa are valued at $188,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Tampa, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tampa are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 25.4% of Tampa residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tampa is 11.8%, which is greater than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tampa residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, Florida Tampa Mission and Most Holy Redeemer Church are among the churches located in Tampa. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Tampa is home to the Parkers Railroad Station and the Drew Station Railroad Station as well as Ybor City Museum State Park and American Legion Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Northgate Shopping Center, Old Hyde Park Village Shopping Center and Benttree Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Tampa can choose from Backstage Restaurant & Lounge, Baymont Tampa Busch Gardens and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.