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Career and Education Opportunities for Child and Family Services Workers in Portland, Maine

For those living in the Portland, Maine area, there are many career and education opportunities for child and family services workers. Currently, 2,130 people work as child and family services workers in Maine. This is expected to grow 9% to 2,330 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for child and family services workers are expected to grow by about 12.3%. 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 about $18 per hour or $38,830 per year on average in Maine and about $19 hourly or $39,530 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Social Work and Community Services, people working as child and family services workers in Maine earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Social Work and Community Services nationally. Jobs in this field include: licensed clinical social worker , child abuse worker, and juvenile counselor.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can study to be a child and family services worker, among twenty-three schools of higher education total in the Portland area. The most common level of education for child and family services workers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years studying to be 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 Portland 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.
  • Social Services Assistant. Assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families. May assist clients in identifying available benefits and social and community services and help clients obtain them. May assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, or adult daycare.
  • Substance Abuse Specialist. Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Child and Family Services Worker Training

University of New England - Biddeford, ME

University of New England, 11 Hills Beach Rd, Biddeford, ME 04005. University of New England is a small university located in Biddeford, Maine. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,939 students and an admission rate of 78%. University of New England has a master's degree program in Social Work which graduated fifty-four students in 2008.

University of Southern Maine - Portland, ME

University of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St, Portland, ME 04103. University of Southern Maine is a large university located in Portland, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 9,930 students and an admission rate of 82%. University of Southern Maine has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Social Work which graduated zero and thirty-one students respectively in 2008.

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LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.