Community & Social Services
Family Support Worker
Family support workers provide emotional and practical assistance and guidance to children and families in need.
What does a Family Support Worker do?
Family support workers provide emotional and practical assistance and guidance to children and families in need. They work in settings such as foster care or adoption agencies, child protective services agencies or family services organisations. Most family support workers focus on providing social services and assisting with the promotion of physical well-being and mental health.
As a family support worker, you would:
- meet with individuals or families referred by social workers or medical professionals
- determine the type of emotional support and help needed
- discuss and plan the practical aspects of the assistance with the individual or family
- deliver the assistance, or work with other professionals as necessary
- provide necessary support to help children stay with their families if possible
- keep accurate and up to date client records.
Examples of skills you may help individuals or families to develop would include:
- caring skills
- teaching children how to learn through play
- dealing with behaviour difficulties
- managing finances and household budgets.
Key skills and interests
To become a family support worker, you would need:
- good interpersonal and communication skills
- the ability to take initiative and work independently
- the ability to build rapport with children and adults
- leadership qualities
- a non-judgmental attitude and respect for individuals' differences
- the ability to plan and organise
- to maintain confidentiality in your dealings with clients.
Working hours and conditions
You would usually work a standard hours number of hours. Part-time and flexible work arrangements should be readily available. You may need to be available out of hours if you are working with a family that has school age children.
You would typically meet and work with families in their own homes, but would be based in an office with other colleagues. You might also work in early childcare education centres.
Family support workers usually work for government organisations, or for private companies contracted by the government to provide these services.
A drivers’ licence may be needed for some jobs.
How to become an Family Support Worker?
Entry Level Education
To become a family support worker you usually need tertiary qualifications in social welfare, health or allied areas. A diploma is usually the minimum requirement, but employers often require a bachelor’s degree. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.
If you are working with children, you would be required to complete the equivalent of a Working with Children check. A National Police Certificate may also be required.
Employment of family support workers is predicted to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
Growth is expected as the population grows, and families seek assistance for an increasing number of issues, including accessing government services. Growth may be tempered, however, but the amount of government funding available for family support services.