- Help families experiencing difficulties to improve their living situation and wellbeing
- You'll need to be caring, patient and able to build trusting relationships
- Opportunities to progress into management roles or specialise
As a family support worker your job will vary depending on the needs of the family (also known as the client) you're working with. Difficulties facing your clients could include drug or alcohol addiction, a parent in hospital or prison, marital or financial difficulties, a child or parent with a disability, or problems accessing services due to language barriers.
You'll work with a social worker to plan and provide the support your client needs, like helping them improve their home management or parenting skills. You may show parents how things can be done, then support them until they can do these things on their own.
You may need to be available early in the morning, during the evening and at weekends. You'll work with families in their own homes, attend meetings and go into the office to write case notes and consult colleagues. You may occasionally need to be present in court sessions about care orders for children.
In emergency situations, like when a single parent is going into hospital, you may move into your client's home for a short time to look after the children until other care is found. You may also help social workers assess a family's needs when a child has returned home after being in care.
This role would be ideal for someone with the ability to communicate sensitively and effectively with children and adults, the ability to build good relationships with families that may be unfriendly at first, the ability to help parents develop the skills they need to run their home, a non-judgmental approach, and language skills for some jobs.
You'll usually need a qualification in childcare, social work, social care, counselling, youth work or education.
You could do a Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care or a Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People's Workforce.
You could also complete a children, young people and families practitioner higher apprenticeship.
Experience is essential when applying for training or jobs. You can get this through paid or voluntary work in children's homes, nurseries, family refuge centres, probation services, family community centres, mental health services or youth projects.
With experience and qualifications you could focus on a particular area, like working with people with disabilities. You could also progress to team leader (managing a group of support workers) or assistant manager of a family centre or refuge. Your experience in family support may help if you want to move into social work.