Family support worker

Job Description:

Family support workers help families with long or short term problems.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

As a family support worker you could:

  • work with people addicted to alcohol or drugs
  • support a parent while they’re in hospital or prison
  • support clients who have marriage or money problems
  • support a child or parent with a disability
  • attend court sessions about caring for a child
  • help clients develop their parenting skills


You’ll need:

  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions

As well as:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • a desire to help people
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a family support worker, specific subjects are not typically required. However, having a strong educational background in relevant areas and acquiring certain skills can be beneficial. Family support workers provide assistance, guidance, and resources to families in need. Here are some subjects and skills that can be helpful for pursuing this career:

  1. Health and Social Care: Courses related to health and social care can provide a foundational understanding of the healthcare and social services sectors, which are often relevant to family support work.
  2. Psychology: Understanding basic principles of psychology can be helpful for dealing with individuals and families facing various challenges and emotional issues.
  3. Child Development: Courses related to child development can be relevant, especially if you plan to work with families with children.
  4. English Language: Effective communication skills, including reading, writing, and documentation, are essential for recording client information and communicating with colleagues.
  5. Mathematics: Basic math skills may be necessary for tasks such as budgeting or assisting families with financial matters.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You could do a level 3 diploma in health and social care or children and young people’s workforce.

An apprenticeship may help you gain the skills you need to become a family support worker.

You could complete a:

  • peer worker advanced apprenticeship
  • children, young people and families practitioner higher apprenticeship
  • early intervention practitioner higher apprenticeship

You need to have experience to apply for training or jobs as a family support worker.

You can get experience by volunteering or finding paid work with:

  • children’s homes or youth projects
  • nurseries
  • family refuge centres
  • probation services
  • family community centres
  • mental health services

Direct Application
You can apply for family support worker jobs if you have:

  • experience working with children, young people or families
  • a minimum of a level 3 qualification in childcare, social work, social care, counselling, youth work or education

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 36 to 38 hours, occasionally including evenings, weekends, or holidays.

You could work at a school, in an office, at a client’s home or in a court.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience and training you could:

  • specialise in an area, like working with people with disabilities
  • lead a team of family support workers
  • manage a family centre or refuge
  • move into social work