Top Reasons to Apply for Mental Health Jobs in California

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

California mental health jobs

A position in the mental health field could be perfect for you.

Here are eight great benefits of working in this field:

1) Ability to make an immediate impact with your work

Many individuals choose to work in the mental health field because they have a desire to help others and improve their mental health. Being a mental health clinician, supervisor or rehabilitation specialist with foster youth and their families can be particularly rewarding. That’s because foster youth are often in particular need of mental health care. Consider these statistics:

  • Eight out of every ten 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.

By working in a foster care mental health job, you can help reverse these trends and increase the likelihood your foster care clients will have a positive trajectory in life. Mental health staff passionately work to improve outcomes for foster youth and families by helping to break the cycle of violence and teaching tools to create a safe and loving environment.

As a former Alternative Family Services (AFS) employee 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 & Placement Services at the Alameda County Department of Children & Family Services, 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 Latinx.

By working specifically with foster youth, their families and their communities, your service and care will have a direct impact on those that need it the most.

3) Ability to work directly with kids and adults

Many mental health workers in a foster care setting like working with the broad range of clientele from children to adults, individuals and families. While some clinicians counsel and advocate for foster youth, others provide family-based therapy, crisis intervention and support. Mental health workers ensure 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

Many mental health careers in most states, including California, require a minimum of a Master’s degree and for some positions a doctorate. However, an advanced degree like an MSW (Master’s in Social Work) isn’t always necessary to work in the mental health field with foster youth.

For example, an AFS Mental Health Rehab Specialist provides family-based mental health counseling, support and crisis intervention services to children, youth and families with AFS’s foster care system. Needed upon hire is an AA (6+ years of experience), BA (4+ years of experience) or an MS (2+ years of experience). Some positions will even offer supervision, training and support needed for licensure.

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 ideal. But for others, flexible work arrangements are preferred, as a survey from Zenefits highlighted:

  • Close to three in four employees are more satisfied at work thanks to flexible scheduling.
  • Almost four in five workers 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 perk cited on both Glassdoor and Indeed.

6) Ability to work in a diverse environment

Foster family agencies and organizations that work with foster youth pride themselves on their diverse workforce. 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 interact with an array of individuals.

7) Ability to earn a quality salary plus benefits

Mental health clinicians typically make between $50,000 and $60,000 a year. In addition, many foster care mental health jobs come with additional benefits such as full medical coverage (including dental and vision), ample 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 afs4kids.org/careers 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.

About AFS

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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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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