Top Reasons to Apply for Foster Care Mental Health Jobs in California

Interested in mental health jobs in California, like in the Bay Area or the greater Sacramento region? If so, then consider applying for foster care mental health jobs in particular. For many reasons, this line of work may be perfect for you. 

Top reasons to apply for foster care mental health jobs in California

Interested in mental health jobs in California? For many reasons, this line of work may be perfect for you.

1) Ability to make an immediate impact with your work 

Why do most people decide to work in the mental health field? For many, it all boils down to a desire to help others and improve their mental health outcomes. While there are many ways to help, working in a foster care environment can be particularly rewarding. That’s because foster youth are in often in particular need of care. Consider these statistics for a moment: 

  • Eight out of every 10 foster youth enter the system with notable mental health needs. 
  • In comparison to veterans, former foster youth are twice as likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 
  • Foster youth are five times more likely than non-foster youth to have Anxiety, and seven times more likely to have Depression. 
  • Around 50 percent of foster youth has dealt with four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences. 
  • By the time foster youth are 24, around half will have developed substance abuse. 

But, by working in a foster care mental health job, you can help reverse these trends. Individuals in mental health in this field are working tirelessly to actively improve outcomes for foster youth. By working in this kind of role, you can make a huge difference in the lives of children in need of love and support. 

As a former Alternative Family Services (AFS) employee once wrote on Glassdoor, “AFS has served thousands of Northern CA foster youth and families since 1978 and the staff is dedicated to helping every single youth have a better life through mental health, foster care and adoption services. I have never worked in an environment where every single employee is working tirelessly towards the common goal of helping clients. It gives me some faith in humanity to see so many people working so hard to help the most disadvantaged youth have a better life.” 

2) Ability to help historically vulnerable populations 

For a long time, foster youth did not receive the services, support and health care they needed to truly succeed, as Faith M. Battles, MSW, former AFS case worker and currently the Division Director for Eligibility, Transition and Placement Services at the Alameda County Department of Children and Family Services, has previously noted. 

Also, many foster youth come from populations that have been historically underserved and marginalized. In California in particular, around 19 percent of all foster youth identify as Black and/or African-American, while 53 percent identify as Hispanic and/or Latino. 

By working specifically with foster youth, their families and their communities, you can serve and provide quality wraparound care to communities that, on many fronts, have not received it historically. 

3) Ability to work directly with kids and adults 

In most mental health jobs in California and nationwide, you’re either working just with kids (like in a school setting) or just with adults (like in a clinical practice). But, in many foster care settings, you’ll likely find yourself working with both. 

While the bulk of the time is spent directly with foster youth, most mental health positions in this field work with adults as well, especially in wraparound settings. This way, everyone involved in the lives of foster youth – most critically biological parents and caretakers get the mental health care and support they may need. 

As a current family counselor in Sacramento noted on Indeed, “The most enjoyable part of my job is making a difference in a child’s life and helping a foster parent with techniques to help a child.” 

4) Ability to gain valuable experience without a Master’s degree 

For many mental health care jobs in California and just about any other state in the country, a Master’s degree at minimum is required. For many positions, a doctorate is specifically requested. But how do you get valuable experience in the mental health field without an advanced degree? 

For many foster care mental health jobs, however, an advanced degree like an MSW (Master’s in Social Work) isn’t always necessary. And, some positions will even offer outside training and material support gaining any needed licenses. For individuals looking to get started in the mental health field, working in the foster care space can be a fantastic way to get a foot in the door. 

5) Ability to learn and work on a flexible schedule 

For some people, working 9-5 Monday through Friday is totally great. But for others, that doesn’t always work. Many prefer more flexible work arrangements, as a 2018 survey from Zenefits highlighted: 

  • Close to three in four say they are more satisfied at work thanks to flexible scheduling. 
  • Almost four in five say they get more done thanks to a flexible schedule. 
  • 77 percent say they take the availability of flexible scheduling into account when considering new employment opportunities. 

Flexible work schedules are often a core part of the job for many foster care mental health positions. In fact, this is a core perk cited on both Glassdoor and Indeed. 

6) Ability to work in a diverse environment 

Good foster family agencies and other organizations that work with foster youth pride themselves on their diversity. Quality agencies have people representing a wide variety of races, nationalities, languages, religions, ages, genders, etc. By working for such an organization, you benefit from this diversity and gain the opportunity to directly learn from a wide array of individuals. 

7) Ability to earn a quality salary plus benefits 

Mental health clinicians typically make between $50,000 and $53,000 a year. In addition, many foster care mental health jobs come with additional benefits such as full medical coverage (including dental and vision), lots of time off, retirement savings plans, student loan forgiveness options, on-the-job training and so much more. 

8) Ability to start today 

Do foster care mental health jobs in California sound appealing to you? If so, then consider applying to work at AFS! We have multiple openings available, and would love to have you join our team! 

Head to to check out our current openings and apply today! 

“I LOVE going to work here each day. I look forward to going to work in the morning! I was always late to my other jobs, but I’m always on time to this job because I really enjoy getting there,” one person wrote on Indeed. 

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Alternative Family Services

Alternative Family Services (AFS) provides thoughtful, informed foster care, adoption and mental health services throughout California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento region. Since 1978, the mission of AFS has been – and continues to be – to support vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety and well-being in communities through foster care, adoption and mental health services.

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