Careers & Degrees to Help Foster Kids
From removing children from abusive and neglectful situations to creating and implementing policies to keep kids safe, careers working with foster children are challenging and rewarding all at once. Learn how you can help youths in the foster system live happier and safer lives.
Kathleen Curtis is an American writer currently living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has developed content around education for more than a decade for both domestic and international clients.
Carina Ramirez serves as a case manager for StarVista’s Foster Youth Education Enrichment Program. Prior to StarVista, she worked as a program coordinator for another Bay Area nonprofit. Originally from Brazil and raised in San Francisco, she attended California State East Bay University where she earned a degree in sociology with an emphasis in social services. She has a passion for helping others, and hopes this passion is carried on to her two children.
Nearly 700,000 children passed through the U.S. foster care system in 2018. Approximately 437,000 children live in foster care at any given time. While more than half of foster youth eventually reunite with their families – and approximately 25% are adopted by their foster families – children on average spend two years in state care. During this time, they need qualified, compassionate professionals who can help provide a sense of stability and normalcy.
Using your talents to help foster children can be tough, but also deeply rewarding, whether you want to reconnect foster kids with their families or help them adjust to a new home entirely. In the following guide, learn about college degrees to help you support foster kids, review career paths in foster care, and hear from an expert in foster youth services.
The Rewards of Working with Foster Youth
Working with children in the foster system, whether they are infants or about to age out into adulthood, presents numerous opportunities to make a real difference in their lives. Jobs in this field can obviously present many challenges and they aren’t for everyone. But anyone who enjoys helping others and giving kids a better chance at a good life will find the rewards more than make up for the hurdles you’ll need to clear. This next section takes a look at five of the many benefits of working with youth in the foster system.
Top Degrees & Career Paths in Foster Services
Many different degrees and career paths are available if you want to work with foster youth, though you may be familiar with some more than others. Plenty of positions exist that can allow you to work directly with foster youth, including as a social worker and counselor. Others may focus on working with entire families or supporting change at a policy level.
As you review the degrees and jobs highlighted below, consider each and how it fits within your specific interests and career goals.