The Important Role of Child Life Specialist in Child Development

Published: 2021-09-15 02:25:11
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Category: Child Development, Poverty

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The Child Life Specialist has an important role within the field of emotional support for children of all ages. This may seem like a career that is correlated to the medical field however, those that may be interested in the medicine aspect of the health care field may find that they do not like this field as much. This career is non-related to nursing yet, there is a positive and beneficial outcome to having experience within that field but is not required for this specific job. With any career it is recommended to get a feel for what you may be getting yourself into, volunteering and understanding the dynamics of how the program works along with the duties you will be responsible for will aide in a better understanding of the field. By volunteering, this is a great way to understand the job and decide if you want to fully commit and grasp the career on a personal level.
A Child Life Specialist will engage and communicate with children and help them understand what is happening to them during stressful or any situations. These specialists will not only help children, but help their families cope with the many fears and experiences that hospitals acquire. By encouraging play, games, and self-expression may assist a child through their stay. For families, you may need to provide sufficient education or moral and emotional support for what may come next for them. It is important to think of this career as assessing both the needs of families and children although the name is Child Life Specialist.Early Childhood Intervention
This career provides specialized support and services for young children that may have disabilities or developmental delays. You will also be providing services to their family members to assist them with continuous knowledge in how to participate more with their child, how to provide them the best support possible, and how to integrate that into your community. By giving children and parents the skills they need to conquer specific disabilities, you will provide meaning to their lives and allow them to see that there are ways to achieve new skills and allow your child to flourish despite their impairments or intellectual difficulties. Most Early Childhood Interventionist will provide in home visits since disabilities are not always cognitive but may be physical as well. Doing this will allow you to use your skills within their home to better assist them and feel more comfortable.
For this type of career, having a BA in special education will give you the upper hand on specific knowledge that will cover areas such as developmental goals, different disabilities, and give you coursework related to the field that will allow you to utilize those skills in your career. There is also the option to attain or MA and concentrate on Early Childhood Intervention which may provide you further information on assessing children’s needs and risk factors but will need specific state licensing dependent upon where you live. Within this field, you can go many different ways that can include jobs such as a school counselor, and occupational therapist which will provide meaningful care any way that you look at it.
Adult Protective Services
APS is a career choice that is associated with the safety and care of elderly and dependent adults whom may be victimized due to physical and sexual abuse, neglect, or be in an un-safe home environment. As an Adult Protect Servicer you will aide a possible victimized adult into allowing them to leave as independently and safe as possible as long as they have accepted assistance. This career choice is along the lines of social work and will provide a duty to those that may need community resources to help them thrive such as nutrition assistance, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals, or law enforcement agencies. You are almost an on-call nurse for these people you are providing support for, you are their advocate and in doing so will arrange for any specific services they may acquire to ensure the best possible services are created for them in their homes, or nursing facility.
For this specific career, Adult Protective Services are trained social workers who have been trained to provide services to elderly and dependent adults specifically. This career would be focused on a career in social work then can create a variety of options of care within the field, APS is an example of that. Each state may have their own qualifications, certifications, and laws that are different from other surrounding states. It is best to look into the location of where your career will take place, finding their government page site will allow you to see qualifications needed to pursue this as a full-time job. Each county will have their own set of servicers, so to also note that looking into each state and county to better find your employment.
Court Appointed Special Service
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1976 mandated that children whom were involved in any judicial proceedings from abuse need to have a guardian at all times, this is where the Court Appointed Special Service agent comes in (Litzelfelner, P.). This career choice will aide in the physical well-being of a child and allowing an innocent child to be in the care of assistance of a service agent that will be their advocate. The length of time a child may be under your supervision and care will be determined upon the court jurisdiction order but can last weeks, months, or years. You will be working alongside social workers, and attorneys by handling a small amount of cases at a time to ensure that all court facts, reports, and case monitoring is cared for appropriately. This job is a lot of face to face interaction regularly with youth, their parents, or family members. By observing them carefully and efficiently you will be able to confirm their best interest is always priority and consulting regularly with child welfare systems to ensure their safety.
Specific training for this career choice is offered by agencies but a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) will be trained and appointed by the Juvenile Court to ensure that the children you are caring for are in your best interest. You must be 21 years of age, you must be able to donate your time monthly for training and be able to maintain professionalism within this his highly emotional career choice. By choosing this career, you will be hearing, witnessing and seeing things that may be harmful to the child you are caring for. It is up to you to make a difference for this child and by continuing to provide positive services for him/her will create a happy and safe life for them and their future.
Head Start Administrator/Teacher
A Head Start preschool teacher will educate children that are younger than five years old and have not yet begun kindergarten. This career path is a federally funded program that will allow early childhood education, healthcare and nutrition to children and families in poverty. A head start educator will engage in energetic and imaginative play while facilitating academic learning. Educators will work with kids and help them work on their problem-solving skills, communication, and fine tune their gross motor play. Many head start teachers have a full busy day of work as they facilitate a large group over rambunctious children between 6-8 hours in length and varying in older infants and toddlers, teaching them basic social skills, diaper changing and cleaning up accidents. An educator in this position mush be empathetic, patient, creative, enthusiastic and most importantly, qualified with proper credentials and degrees.
To be a Head Start educator, you must possess a minimum qualification of a BA although, a MA is preferred for a lead teaching position. Median salaries for this is anywhere between $23,474 to $57,755 which is intended to rise 7% in the future (Green, K.). If you would like to be a teacher assistant, a Child Development associate (CDA) credential or BA or AA degree is required. For a teacher’s aide, you must have a minimum qualification of a High School diploma or your GED. You may find that you want to be a teaching assistant at first then you may move up to a lead teacher role as you continue with your education. With a MA in this career path, you may advance your compensation more so than someone whom has a BA in the same field, allowing you more benefits as well. It is recommended that to grow into this field and attain all the benefits, a MA is preferred to develop all your personal skills which can be attained from online schools such as Concordia University-Portland and will be awarded under the degree Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.
Forensic Interviewer
A career as a Forensic Interview Specialist will provide great assistance to children that will need structured conversations about detailed events or experiences they have witnessed. The purpose of a forensic interview is to obtain information from a child that would be beneficial in a criminal investigation and will allow you to better assist their living situation, their personal well-bring, and any abuse or neglect they may be experiencing. The Forensic Interviewer will assess a child for any needed medical attention and also will realize that every child is different meaning, it may take multiple interviews to talk about their experiences as many of the children that will be dealt with will be anxious or frightened (What We Do: Forensic Interviews). It is important that these interviews be dealt with in a nonthreatening demeanor while assuring that all information is attained to better aide the child’s future within the court system.
Forensic Interview Specialists will have advanced training and will continue to be trained to develop their skills and continually be up to date with professional trainings upon completion of a degree. Studying courses related to criminal justice, sociology or psychology will be a good background for this career along with knowledge in legal procedures. For any job related to this career you must pass a criminal background check and also have a minim of a BA degree to qualify but need at least two years of experience and those was an AA need a minimum of three years of experience within the field. Some agencies may allow prior experience to substitute skills learned with a BA however, some agencies may require a doctorate or licensure as a psychiatrist for follow-up interviews.
Children’s Protective Services
A Child Protective Servicing career has been rising and is expected to grow 5 percent from 2016 to 2026, creating many new employment opportunities for those looking to help children of all ages (Bureau of Labor Statistics). You will become a social worker and then will lead you to work in the field of Children’s Protective Services. This job will need you to identify resources to aide abused or neglected children, or families that are in need of community outreaches, financial resources, and other types of assistance. This job is typically employed by CPS agencies and by the state, this job will require traveling often to the homes of children and families to better gauge their situation. This would be determined as a highly stressful and emotional job that requires decisions to be made based off non-emotions and necessary long hour to fulfill the needs of these families and children.
The necessary education level for this career is a BA, some often continue their degree and receive an MA in Social Work or a closely related field to help them advance their career. It is also necessary that an internship or field work be completed, each state has their own required hours of work necessary and upon completion will allow you to apply those skills in real life situations. Considering an advanced degree in this field is not necessary however, if you would like to become a supervisor or clinical practitioner in the field then a MA will be required. Or, leadership training with an organization like the Child Welfare Workforce Institute will offer more up to date training on the U.S. Children’s Bureau that will only advance your skills and career even more (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Pregnancy Centers
With working in a pregnancy center, you can attain different types of jobs that are revolved around a mother or family that may need assistance on pregnancy resources available to them. You may provide outreach programs, contacts like hospitals, medical clinics, colleges, and adoption agencies that will allow them to have full knowledge in resources that are available to them. Often, these pregnancy centers will assist families with basic needs for their newborn with providing diapers, wipes, and even free pregnancy tests. You will also be meeting with many different cultures and perspectives of women and families in which you will be unable to be biased towards, these women come to pregnancy centers for help and assistance and by choosing this as a career means choosing no side. You may have to provide emotional support, you may be a shoulder to cry on, you may be materially providing for them while helping them sort through past or current abortions and options for their families.
To attain a job within a pregnancy center and depending on the type of role you are looking for you may need to possess a MA degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling as you work with many different people and their behavior and emotions. You also may need to provide volunteer experience of a couple years and have a degree related to education, health, or social services to be able to work in this field. Providing excellent communication and relational skills is a must while also demonstrating knowledge in state regulations, organizational skills, and be committed to the confidentiality of many people that come into pregnancy centers. It is a job that will require a lot of mental and emotional stamina but with skills in this field, you will be better able to assist many families that feel they do not have other options.
Adoption Agencies
To work in an adoption agency, you must be a Human Service Worker to be able to assist the variations in assistance such as creating treatment plans, providing emotional support, and working closely with different clients. Often, children and families do not have their most basic needs met and this is where you will come in and assist with options like food stamps, low income housing, or locating child care for families. If domestic violence is involved, children may need to be removed from their homes and be placed in a foster group or home where they will remain until parents can improve their situation or, until they have found an adoption agency that a family would like to adopt them through. While working in an adoption agency, you will do your best to find a child their forever home as they have already gone through possibly devastating circumstances and life events that has brought them to their situation. Giving them the gift of loving parents and a nurturing stable home life is what you will be providing for children within the adoption agency.
To work within this field, you may possess an AA, BA, and MA however, the duties within those degrees all differentiate. To work in human service organizations, you must be able to attain an education and degree, AA would lead to entry level work like managing cases, providing resources and completing appropriate paperwork. A BA will be more interaction with client cases and also will be able to provide some clinical support but usually will need some type of state internship or experience along with attaining their degree. For a MA in this field, you will be able to focus more on clinical work, one on one counseling sessions with those that need assistance. You may need specific state licensure or, need to be supervised by a license Psychologist with this degree along with internship hours however, this advanced degree will allow you more personal interaction with people.
Foster Care
Foster care is when a child may need to be temporarily placed in a home that is safer than what they were currently living in. Adults that are not their parents will be caring for them and provide support, any necessities they may need and understanding of their situation. Working in a foster care will mean you are helping parents set up their monthly expenses that the child may need which could include psychiatric care, medical care, or physical care. You are helping children go to homes whom have been physically or mentally abused and be placed in a safer more nurturing home that will be able to provide them their essentials. You will help children become more acclimated to their environment, introducing them to their new families, explaining to them what is going on. Running background checks or prospective parents, interviewing the children for any help that may contribute to placing them into the perfect home. This job responsibility is crucial for the child as it is up to you to make a responsible choice in the placement of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The required education for this is a minimum of a BA in a psychology or sociology field, often a MA is required for some positions but is dependent upon experience and state regulations. By attaining a degree within these fields, you will be able to provide related information to children and families, allowing you to give them the most influential and beneficial information that will guide them into a better life. You also need to be aware of welfare policies and many different methods of social work, which is why many continue on to attain a MA in this field. Stipulations for each state on the social worker licensing exam is different and should be identified prior to taking your test. Foster care or social workers that want to help children within the foster system and help them get through their issues of abandonment and guide them through positive experiences with foster homes will be great with a BA degree.
Women’s Shelters
Working in a women’s shelter you will be dealing with women whom have most likely been through emotional or physical trauma that has led them to where they are. In some regions of the country, nearly one third of all homeless women are homeless due to domestic abuse (McKinney, V.). You will be maintaining confidentiality at all times from clients and staff within the shelter while also keeping detailed records. It is important to keep shelters physically and emotionally safe because many of these women come here for support as they have no-where else to go. Others small duties may include laundry, goal setting, crisis hotline phone calls and assisting women with personal or developmental goals.
Training to be a counselor in domestic violence differs depending on the state you are in, it may require 40 hours of training involved with peer counseling techniques, statistical research, learning about battered women syndrome and violence. A post-secondary degree may be required along with more internship hours and experience. If you are wanting to advance and help women out further within this career, then a AA degree in case management would be an excellent start.

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