TOPEKA – Social workers serve a vital function within the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). Among other duties, they respond to families in crisis to ensure children are thriving in safe and healthy homes. Unfortunately, fewer people are entering this field. DCF is experiencing a shortage of social workers in many regions of the state, especially western Kansas. Statewide, DCF has 375 social workers and 61 social worker vacancies. The agency also has 59 social work supervisors, and six social work supervisor vacancies. To ensure that the agency can continue to meet the safety needs of families, DCF is proud to announce new efforts to recruit qualified individuals to protect vulnerable children. Three additional professions will now fill the same role as social workers within DCF’s Prevention and Protection Services division.
The education completed that now qualifies individuals to serve families as Child Protection Specialists includes:
- Bachelors in Social Work, licensed social worker
- Master’s in Psychology, licensed master-level psychologist or licensed clinical psychotherapist
- Master’s in Professional Counseling, licensed professional counselor
- Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy, licensed marriage and family therapist
“We are excited to welcome these professionals who are well-trained in the world of child welfare to work alongside our social workers who are often overburdened with heavy caseloads,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said. “As a licensed social worker, I know the job can be physically and emotionally draining, and our social workers deserve to feel supported.”
Ron Hein represents the Mental Health Credentialing Coalition, the group that represents the Kansas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the Kansas Association of Masters in Psychology, and the Kansas Counseling Association. He is delighted to see greater opportunities for master level psychologists, professional counselors, and marriage and family therapists.
“Through their practicums, these professionals work hand-in-hand with families in crisis and victims of abuse and neglect. They are well trained to help parents address their safety issues and get on the path to creating a healthy home for their children. We look forward to working with DCF to spread the word about the agency’s need for our qualified professionals,” Hein said.
Kansas is among several other states that have expanded social worker openings to other child welfare fields. Other states include Alabama, West Virginia, New Mexico and Louisiana.
“By opening our options to include a variety of talented child welfare professionals, we are supporting social worker recruitment and retention, while furthering our mission of protecting children.” Secretary Gilmore said.
This week, DCF will launch a multi-media recruitment campaign to attract Child Protection Specialists from the various fields. Messaging will include flyers, mailers, brochures, social media posts, job fairs and advertisements in community newspapers.
To learn more about this employment opportunity, visit www.dcf.ks.gov.