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What Does a Family Support Worker Do?

Community support specialists are support workers who extend their services beyond helping an individual family.
A family support worker helps a family get through a difficult time.
A family support worker may help homeless families find shelter and food.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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A family support worker has many duties that relate to providing guidance to families in need. The need may be financial, counseling, or some other necessity. For families requiring assistance, the support worker may provide information on how to obtain food stamps or enroll in healthcare programs. These individuals typically go through extensive training to do their jobs effectively.

In some cases, a family support worker will organize events to raise money for those who have encountered adversity, such as displacement due to natural disasters or fire, or the loss of a job. He or she may work seasonally with the local community to distribute food to the needy or toys to children at Christmas. Some also provide assistance to low-income families in need of affordable housing. They may be responsible for finding community volunteers to work with outreach programs that educate families in times of need as well.

Some support workers specialize in community services that benefit children. They may work with organizations such as Big Sisters and Big Brothers of America, for example, to mentor children, typically from one-parent households, either in school or community-based programs. Some family counselors will take a child to events, such as a ball game, or to simply spend time with a child one-on-one.

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Family support workers also intervene in times of family crisis. In situations such as divorce that may have be difficult for a child, the individual may provide resources for group or family therapy. This worker may also talk with the child's teachers or the family's clergy.

Someone who wants to work as a family support worker will typically need a bachelor's degree and experience in counseling. Some prior social service experience is also extremely helpful. These professionals also have experience in dealing with issues faced by homeless and low-income families.

Community support specialists are support workers who extend their services beyond helping an individual family. They work to support and provide education to the community. As part of the human services program, these workers may enlist volunteers in the community or sponsor events to benefit various causes.

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Spotiche5
Post 2

@raynbow- You are right about the field of social work and family support being very stressful and challenging. My sister is a family support worker, and she has had many ups and downs. However, there is nothing else that she would rather do for a living.

Though your relative should be aware that a position as a support worker will expose her to a lot of challenging, difficult, and emotional situations with families, it sounds like she is more motivated by the rewarding aspects of this field. I think that watching families get through tough times, stay together, and thrive will make the challenging aspects of this career field well worth it for your relative.

Raynbow
Post 1

I'm looking for some advice from anyone who has experience in the field of family support. I have a relative that is planning to go in the field and wants to be a family support worker, and I am concerned that she is looking at the work duties too optimistically. Is this field as stressful as I have heard that it can be?

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