Foster Care Specialist

The Foster Care Specialist is primarily concerned with the placement and supervision of children in foster homes and with corresponding efforts with the legal parents in an attempt to return children to their own homes.  Foster Care is to be considered a temporary plan for the child and to that end, the Foster Care Specialist will focus treatment and goals for the child(ren) and his or her family that expedite effective permanency plans.  In the event that a child’s return to his/her legal parent(s) is not feasible, the Foster Care Specialist will seek to develop & implement long-term plans for such a child (i.e., adoption, guardianship, APPLA, independent living, placement with relatives, etc.).

Reliable transportation is necessary and the caseworker must have a valid, unrestricted Michigan driver’s license, a good driving record, and insurance as required by law.

Qualifications:  The Foster Care Specialist shall possess a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in: Behavioral Science, Community Services, Counseling (Psychology), Criminal Justice (Administration), Early Childhood Studies, Family Ecology, Family Life Education, Family Studies, Family and/or Child Development, Guidance/School Counseling, Human Development and Family Studies, Human Services, Psychology, Social Work, or Sociology;  with background experience in foster care or adoption preferred.

Applicants can email a cover letter and resume to Amelia Mayhew, Foster Care Specialist, at

More information about this position:

Effective written and oral communication skills are essential and the successful candidate must be able to promote a positive image for the agency in the community and in relationships with other people.  They must have the ability to work with a diverse population, understand and interact well with children in all stages of development, make sound decisions and have a working knowledge of community resources.  Positive acceptance of supervision in order to acquire training in casework, diagnostic, and treatment skills is essential.  Competence and success in handling personal life situations, assertiveness, flexibility, self-organization, and self-direction are also required in addition to high moral character, evidence of no criminal record, and a high stress tolerance.  Experience as a volunteer, knowledge of differing lifestyles and cultures, experience or training in work with children or adults, training and/or practice in individual and family counseling, interviewing, family assessment, and crisis intervention, Child Welfare experience, and computer literacy are desired as well.

Duties & Responsibilities:  The Foster Care Specialist can expect to be responsible for approximately 11-13 foster care children. Caseload expectations are subject to fluctuation with agency intake.  In addition, the Foster Care Specialist is responsible for performing the duties listed below:

  • Provide case management and treatment services to children placed in Foster Care who, due to abuse and/or neglect or delinquency, cannot remain in their own home or are under court order to be supervised in their own home.
  • Provide case management and service coordination to parents, or those legally responsible, and the child – both while the child is in Foster Care and once the child is returned home (aftercare supervision).
  • Provide effective services and court testimony to help all abused and neglected children achieve a safe and expedient permanency plan outcome.
  • Place and supervise children in Foster Care.
  • Encourage and support positive interaction between parent(s) and their child(ren) when appropriate (i.e., suggestions, interventions, positive discipline, games, toys, crafts, homework, proper care and safety, etc).
  • Transport children for parenting time, appointments, assessments, etc. as needed. Adhere to all traffic laws, child safety seat laws, and use all necessary precautions to assure the safety of passengers and self.
  • Provide comprehensive services to the parents whose children are in Foster Care to enable them to resolve the problems which led to the neglect and/or abuse of their child(ren).
  • Coordinate and monitor community resources available to clients (i.e., school planning conferences, psychological/psychiatric evaluations; parenting classes, substance abuse, sexual abuse, mental health therapy and medical services, etc.).
  • Communicate effectively and frequently with foster parents who are caring for children on caseload, to ensure that all needs of the child are being met, the worker is well informed on how the child is doing, and to support the foster parents.
  • Conduct all required home visits as well as additional home visits as needed. Home visits must occur in: foster homes, parental homes, relative homes if applicable, etc.
  • Provide services related to the transition into adoption or other permanency goal for those children who have been in Foster Care whose parental rights have been terminated.
  • Complete all work assignments pertaining to the Department of Health and Human Services policy manual, licensing rules, ISEP, and agency expectations on a timely and professional basis.
  • Utilize the statewide case management system, MiSACWIS, to complete all required casework documentation.
  • Initiate and coordinate alternative placement arrangements when Foster Care is not appropriate or child(ren) cannot be returned home. Work cooperatively and constructively with agency adoption staff and referral agency staff.
  • Develop initial and updated service plans, parent-agency treatment plans, court reports, termination of parental rights petitions, and other written assessments/reports/court documents as required.
  • Implement treatment goals, duties and responsibilities by coordinating services and working cooperatively with staff members and personnel from other agencies.
  • Attend court hearings and provide testimony on case service progress, status of the parents and children, concerns, and recommendations.
  • Participate in required case related activities such as court hearings, Family Team Meetings, and Foster Care Review Board meetings.
  • Utilize supervision effectively to manage work duties as well as communicating individual worker needs for self-care and boundaries.
  • Staff members may be assigned to assist with other duties such as speeches, public relations/special events, recruitment, committees/task forces or work with the Board of Directors.
  • In addition to regular scheduled work hours, the foster care specialist will be responsible to accommodate his/her personal schedule to client’s availability for required home visits, Family Team Meetings, etc.
  • Comply with agency expectations related to general forms (i.e., time sheets, expense vouchers, service area statistical reports, etc.).
  • Attend agency staff meetings, team meetings, case conferences, in-service training, etc. All caseworkers are required to complete 300+ hours of initial training (CWTI), as well as 32 hours of annual training applicable to their job each year, as well as additional agency required trainings to maintain accreditation.
  • Perform all work duties in a manner consistent with confidentiality requirements and applicable codes of ethics.
  • Actively participate in the agency’s CQI process.
  • Comply with all CARF accreditation requirements as applicable to the agency and the foster care program.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.