Realistic Job Preview - Child Protection Specialist

A Child Protection Specialist is one of the most challenging opportunities in the field of social services, but it can be very rewarding if you have what it takes to make a difference. You will carry a lot of responsibility, but can make an enormous impact in the lives of many children.

Cuyahoga County works to ensure that children at risk of abuse and neglect are protected and nurtured. We are also committed to improving the lives of children through our attention, care and support.

Typical Work Day
On a typical day, you may receive a report alleging that a child has been abused or neglected. This tip could come from mandated child abuse reporters, teachers, or simply anonymous citizens. You would start the investigation by assessing the child's safety and family functioning. You would interview the child, family members, involved parties, and visit the child’s home.

On another day, you may meet with a family at their home or community collaborative to discuss services to help them change their behavior and reduce the risk of child abuse or neglect. Other days may include typing up notes and assessments, placing children in out-of-home care when necessary, meeting with community service providers, or testifying in court. In reality, there is no typical day in child protection.

As you consider this position, keep in mind the key rewards and challenges:

Job Rewards

  • Helping keep children safe from harm.
  • Identifying a permanent home for children in out-of-home care.
  • Building a team with your peers.
  • Professional development through training opportunities.
  • Working with various public systems to make sure every family’s specific needs are met.
  • Knowing that you have made a positive impact.

Job Challenges

  • Emotional impact of observing severely abused and neglected children.
  • Partnering with families who may be upset and resistant to help.
  • Going into homes and neighborhoods that are unfamiliar.
  • Accommodating the family’s needs when scheduling appointments.
  • Testifying in court and replying to complex questions about your assessment of safety and risk.
  • The workload and time frame requirements can feel demanding.


If you are right for this job, it’s the best job in the world. Do you have the competencies that would make you a successful member of this team? We are looking for applicants who have essential social skills and emotional intelligence as demonstrated by following competencies:

Can shift priorities to meet the needs of families when the day does not go as planned. The only thing constant is change.

Build Trust:
Treats others with dignity, respect and fairness.

Conveys information clearly and with sensitivity to cultural, gender, educational, and other individual characteristics.

Conflict Management:
Able to size up situations quickly when conflict arises and facilitate solutions.

Continuous Learner:
Continually grows professionally through on-the-job experience and applies information learned to improve skills.

Cultural Competency and Inclusivity:
Aware of how one's own personal beliefs and values influence interaction with others. Demonstrates unconditional positive regard.

Client/Family Focus:
Builds appropriate relationships with clients and families, able to gain the trust and respect of clients and families, and understands families' needs and expectations.

Decision Making/Problem Solving:
Is able to review all options, select the most appropriate choice, and assume responsibility for that decision.

Facilitating Change:
Helps others embrace change.

Planning and Organizing:
Manages time effectively, demonstrates good organizational skills, sets priorities, and meets deadlines.

Stress Tolerance:
Remains effective when working under stressful conditions, able to express stress in an appropriate way, employs stress reduction techniques.

Teamwork and Collaboration:
Builds collaborative and productive relationships with others in the organization and community.

Technical/Professional Knowledge and Skills:
Possesses the knowledge, skill, and expertise to do the job effectively, efficiently, safely, and independently.

Work Standards:
Regularly meets expected standards. Displays effort and commitment to work.

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