Child Welfare Social Worker Salary: What You’ll Make and Why

Child welfare social workers make around $40,695 to $66,050 on average in the US, depending on experience, location, skills, and other factors.

According to various salary aggregate websites, a child welfare social worker’s average salary in the US ranges between $40,695 and $66,050. As of March 2022, the average base salaries for child welfare social workers are as follows:


Keep in mind: Salary aggregate websites typically rely on data submitted anonymously by individuals using their site. Some websites may have received larger amounts of data of either higher or lower than average salaries, which may affect the site’s calculated average.

Read more: What Is a Child Welfare Social Worker? How to Become One

What influences a salary?

The salary of a child welfare social worker can be impacted by many factors, including education, experience, and location. Here, we will take a closer look at how these factors can impact salary.

Years of experience

Salary increases are generally tied to your experience level. In general, the more years you spend working as a child welfare social worker, the more you can expect to earn. Here’s how experience can impact your child welfare social worker salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Compensation Survey.

Level of experienceSalary
Entry-level (less than 1 year)$42,923
Early career (1 to 4 years)$49,518
Mid career (5 to 9 years)$60,923
Experienced (10 to 19 years)$74,088
Late career (20+ years)$95,821

Where you live can also impact how much you can make as a child welfare social worker. Typically, working in a large metropolitan area correlates to a higher salary, as well as a higher cost of living.

Here is a list of some major cities with their corresponding average child welfare social worker salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

CityAverage Salary
Washington DC, DC$84,662
New York City, NY$80,306
San Francisco, CA$75,771
Baltimore, MD$73,145
Los Angeles, CA$72,573
Omaha, NE$53,000
Nashville, TN$51,938
Birmingham, AL$51,043
Tampa Bay, FL$49,336
Oklahoma City, OK$47,880

How does this compare to similar jobs?

Here’s how a child welfare social worker’s salary stacks up against similar jobs.

Related JobsAverage Salary
School Social Worker$53,818
Family Service Counselor$58,594
Social worker$54,262
Mental Health Counselor$57,984
Substance Abuse Counselor$43,789
Behavioral Health Counselor$49,980
Case Manager$40,577

How to increase your child welfare social worker salary

Now that you have a better idea of what you could expect to earn as a child welfare social worker, let’s look at ways to boost your salary.

1. Strengthen your skills

Pursuing and improving in-demand skills could make you more competitive for promotions and higher-paying positions. These skills include:

  • Assessment: Conduct in-person interviews and home visits to assess families’ strengths and needs
  • Case Management: Develop service plans and coordinate with other agencies to ensure that families receive the services they need
  • Child Advocacy: Serve as a child’s advocate throughout the child welfare system, including court proceedings
  • Trauma-Informed Care: Understand how trauma can impact children and families and provide trauma-informed care
  • Documentation: Maintain accurate and up-to-date case files and progress notes
2. Get a good performance review

A great performance review can do wonders for your career, and can also be used as leverage when asking for a salary increase. If you can show that you’re consistently going above and beyond at your job, your boss will be more likely to give you a raise.

3. Grow your network

As a child welfare social worker, you’re likely already familiar with the importance of networking. But growing your network can also have a direct impact on your salary. By connecting with other professionals in your field, you can learn about new job opportunities, get advice on salary negotiation, and more.

Article Sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “National Compensation Survey,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment and Wages,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

3. Payscale. “Child Welfare Worker Salary,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

4. Ziprecruiter. “Child Welfare Social Worker Annual Salary,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

5. Indeed. “Indeed Salary Finder,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

6. “Child Welfare Worker Salary,” Accessed March 23, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “Child Welfare Social Worker Salaries,,27.htm.” Accessed March 23, 2022.


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