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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.
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.