Family Support Worker Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Family Support Worker, or Family Intervention Officer assists and advises families experiencing short- or long-term challenges. Their primary duties include assessing the needs of their clients, providing support to service users and empowering them to overcome the difficulties they are experiencing. 

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Family Support Worker duties and responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of Family Support Workers vary depending on the needs of the family they are helping, but their key duties and responsibilities can include:

  • Assessing the needs of their clients
  • Creating a plan of support for their clients based on a needs assessment 
  • Conducting regular caseload reviews with families and individual clients during home visits to ensure that there are no issues at home
  • Ensuring adherence to standards and legislation for confidentiality, equality and diversity
  • Managing their workload and scheduled commitments
  • Keeping records and updating reports for their cases
  • Attending court sessions dealing with the care and protection of children
  • Working with Social Workers to determine a family’s needs when a child returns home after being in foster care
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What does a Family Support Worker do?

Family Support Workers typically work for the government or social services agencies. They offer practical assistance and emotional support to families and individual clients. They work with families, including adults and children with different personal or social difficulties, such as domestic abuse, homelessness and addiction problems. Family Support Workers also help families access the benefits they are entitled to. They recommend a variety of community resources for families to use. 

Family Support Worker skills and qualifications

A Family Support Worker needs excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communication skills. A successful Family Support Worker candidate will also have various  prerequisite skills and qualifications that include:

  • Counselling and active listening skills
  • Patience and ability to work under pressure
  • Ability to perform basic tasks, such as report writing, on computers
  • Commitment to make a positive difference to the lives of their clients
  • Ability to work well with different types of individuals
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Organisational and interpersonal skills

Family Support Worker experience requirements

Most employers prefer Family Support Workers who have relevant work experience with young people, children and families. This can either be in a paid or voluntary capacity. While candidates aren’t likely to find structured opportunities such as internships, they can volunteer or work in family and children support services to gain experience and improve their skills. Experience in supporting children and adults, problem-solving, coaching, advisory work and mentoring is also helpful. 

Family Support Worker education and training requirement

While entry routes into Family Support Worker positions are varied, candidates usually need a combination of relevant qualifications. Employers usually seek at least a level 3 qualification in one of the following: advice and guidance, youth work, social care, health, education, counselling, community work or childcare. Employers also expect candidates to know safeguarding procedures and practices, so candidates must complete a course in safeguarding awareness to support their application. 

Candidates don’t have to have a degree to become a Family Support Worker, but some employers may require one in the following fields: youth and community work, social work, psychology, education or childhood studies. To work with young people, children and vulnerable groups, candidates must pass an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

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Family Support Worker job description FAQs

What is the difference between a Family Support Worker and a Social Worker?

A Family Support Worker goes into people’s home to provide emotional support and practical help to families experiencing a variety of problems. A Social Worker helps people within a wide range of settings, from hospitals and schools to mental health clinics. Social Workers can work with individuals or within organisations or large communities and assist people with a range of ailments from chronic illness and addiction treatment to child support services.

What are the working hours of Family Support Workers?

A full-time Family Support Worker usually works about 37 hours per week. There are also job share, casual and part-time options available. They may also have to work weekends, evenings and early mornings to accommodate the family’s commitments and needs, such as school and work hours. 

Who does a Family Support Worker report to?

The reporting lines for Family Support Workers vary depending on the organisation they work for. However, they often report to a more Senior Family Support Worker or the Child and Family Support Services Manager. 

What should you look for in a Family Support Worker's CV?

If the position requires speciality in a specific area of support, such as domestic abuse or addiction support, look for the candidate’s relevant training and experience. Also, make sure the CV demonstrates the candidate’s resilience and ability to cope with traumatic and emotionally draining situations. For senior-level Family Support Worker positions, the CV must reflect the candidate’s management experience.  

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