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How Do I Start my Career as a Family Support Worker?

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 13 Aug 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Family Support Worker Social Work Career

Q.I have a degree in Childhood Studies/Educational studies and I have been working with children for the last 6 years and I want to work as a family support worker or something related to social work. I wanted to know how I go about it. Would I have to study further or could I use the qualifications I already have?

(Mrs Zoby Hussain, 1 October 2008)

A.

Thanks for your question. Although you don’t say exactly what work with children you’ve been doing for the last six years, on the surface it sounds like you should be in a good position to move onto working as a family support worker.

Most family support worker jobs insist that applicants have experience, either through paid or voluntary work, with working with children and families. It’s a definite bonus if you’ve got experience or qualifications through working in social work, but other relevant experience could be gained through working:

  • In children’s homes.
  • At children’s nurseries.
  • In probation services.
  • At family refuge centres.
  • In family community centres.
  • In mental health services.
  • At youth work projects.
In addition to relevant experience, many jobs also require qualifications, although there may be the option of studying for extra qualifications alongside doing the job. Some of the qualifications that are relevant to the job include:

  • NVQ levels 2, 3 and 4 in Children's Care, Learning and Development.
  • NVQ levels 2, 3 and 4 in Health and Social Care.
  • CACHE Certificate or Diploma in Child Care and Education.
  • BTEC National Certificate/Diploma in Children's Care, Learning and Development.
Many employers actively encourage further study and may suggest you work towards qualifications such as a foundation degree in Professional Studies in Family support, a postgraduate certificate or degree in Child Protection and Family Support or a BTEC HNC in Advanced Practice in Work with Children and Families.

Whether or not the degree you already have will be accepted as being enough for the job depends in part on what topics it actually covered – if there wasn’t much of a focus on family support, it may not be quite so relevant. Yet the experience you have may help balance things out.

If you’ve got your heart set on pursuing a career as a family support worker, then the best bet would be to contact relevant organisations in your area and ask exactly what qualifications and experience they require. If the experience you have isn’t quite apt, then there could be the possibility of volunteering to shadow a current family support worker as they go about their job to gain extra skills.

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I have been a child development officer for 18 years working with Glasgow city council.I have had lots of experience working within a nursery setting with children families carers and other agencies would I be recognised as experienced enough to do this type of job? I love working with children however I need a new challenge and to be able to get out and about in my local community.
Dandy - 13-Aug-19 @ 9:39 PM
I have been working at children's home for about two years,l have diploma in business and administration.good working experience for above mentioned post.
Mabo - 20-Jul-19 @ 11:39 PM
I've worked in childcare for 10 years in schools and private nurseries. I have NVQ Level 3 in Chid Development and a foundations degree in primary children and learning and currently studying childhood and youth studies. How do I go about becoming a family support worker? To learn as I work? Alot of offers I have seen want experienced workers in that field. Will appreciate some feedback Thanks.
Julez - 15-Jun-19 @ 7:20 PM
I work in an SEN school and have 8 years experience in schools, how do I go about becoming a family liaison worker?
Ruby - 3-Jun-19 @ 2:00 PM
I would like a career change and a role that I will find rewarding. A family support worker or helping children/adults to rehabilitation. I have no formal qualifications in this role. I have experience with nephew and nieces.
Vero - 5-May-19 @ 7:30 PM
I was working as volunteeringassistant nurse at Asbury Hospital when I was in Ghana. Now i'am here as EEA family member permit and I want to start working in Health and Social Care sector. Please can you help me to achieve my goal
Bogya - 2-Mar-19 @ 5:10 AM
I would like a career change and a role that I will find rewarding. A family support worker or helping children/adults to rehabilitation. I have no qualifications in this role, but have 49 years of experience, working and protecting the general public and have also done close protection for a few starseconds and famous disc jockeys. I have a burning desire to help people and have had that inside me for many years. So I would like a chance to out my knowledge and people skills into practice and achieve my goal in life.
Javis Davis - 9-Dec-18 @ 4:27 PM
I would love to work with children or students who are struggling with issues regarding exam work or who are suffering issues whether self harm or depression.I've gone through this in my life ,I'm fine now ,it's I want to give these people a chance of over coming this just as I've done.I work hard on my own or with a team.and would go through every courses that would be available to me.Kind regards Mrs Patricia secker. 07985232489
Trisha - 22-Nov-18 @ 8:36 PM
Hi,I want to work as a family support worker.I love to do this job(family support work). I have degree in Education and Psychology plus B:Ed and have sevenyears experience in teachingfrom back home.Here in ukI am in retail from 10yearsas a customer team member and I am really good with customers and I like to help themall the time. I have some teaching courses here as well that is 2 level 3 in teacher training and education .I want to know do I have to get any further qualification to get tis job.Its really hard to do any more course with your recent full time job.Can anybody advice me about this. Thanks Maryam
Maryam - 9-Nov-18 @ 2:46 PM
I have working permit to work here in Uk and i am nit entitled to no benefits but I love to work as child support worker or mental health support worker. How do I start please. Thanks
Menasb - 18-Oct-18 @ 3:32 AM
Hi, I’m currently in second year of university undertaken an early childhood studies course in my course we do cover a range of topics such as children development from birth, looked after children and safeguarding. I have taken on work placement for a month a nursery setting and have also worked as a nanny/childminder for 1 year. I have also got a BTEC qualification in Health and social care from when I was in school. I was wondering whether I would be okay to work in career as a children and family support worker?
Shevy - 5-Oct-18 @ 9:37 AM
Hiya. I am a qualified level 3 health and social care. I am really keen to work with families who need support and general parenting help work. I don't know how i can get in to this and if my existing qualifications are vaild at all. Thanks in advance lorraine
Missybean - 10-Jun-18 @ 9:44 AM
workingwithchildren - Your Question:
Hi, I've recently gained my qualification in level 3 Childcare im looking to be a family support worker but I don't know where to start. I have completed some work experience in nurseries and schools and am looking in to do some voluntary work but unsure where to go or what to do. I am unsure where I can also apply for jobs? I need help please.

Our Response:
Working on a voluntary basis with Barnados may be an option to consider, please see link here . The Do-It organisation may also be able to help, please see link here, as it is more area specific. The gov.uk link here may also help further.
WorkingWithKids - 4-May-18 @ 11:20 AM
Hi, I've recently gained my qualification in level 3 Childcare im looking to be a family support worker but i don't know where to start. I have completed some work experience in nurseries and schools and am looking in to do some voluntary work but unsure where to go or what to do. i am unsure where i can also apply for jobs? i need help please.
workingwithchildren - 3-May-18 @ 7:54 PM
@gail - If you can, do some voluntary work in that particular area. You've got a better of getting a job if you have ongoing practical experience.
LisC - 10-Apr-18 @ 9:28 AM
hi I'm looking to become a family support worker and wondered how I would go about this. I gained my hnc in social care last year and have been working as a pupil support assistant in an additional support needs school. any advice appreciated
gailormiston - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:58 AM
Hi I'd like to further my career in working as a family support worker possibly to support families with young children I have previous experience working in a children's care home with young people, work for YOT doing reparation with young people and am currently working in a behavioural school I have completed an NVQ 3 in children and young people and an access course in health and social care and feel that I'd like to work with families...how do I go about this. Thanks ??
Claire Billing - 4-Apr-18 @ 9:24 PM
Hi there,I'm really interested in doing family support work as a job. I have 20 years plus experience of working with children,child minding,nannying and child practitioner. At present I work in a playgroup with 2-4yrs and have completed my SVQ3 in childcare and development. I've been in playgroup almost 9 years and I also do Homestart volunteering,which i have done for 4yrs.last year i applied for jobs in family support work but only got one interveiw in which i was unsuccessful. I have had lots of life experience varying from domestic violenceto family members involved with drugs and prison....Iknow I have so much to give a roll in family support work...just need to know how best to go about it???....any information would be gratefully appreciated. Amanda.
Manda - 9-Feb-18 @ 6:23 PM
Hi. I would like to become a family support worker with young childreni have a level3 in child. However the experience i have working with children is along side my collagebut i was a children entertainer in the summer in the past 2 yearsi have been in the same job since I was 14 but now I finnaly now what i want to do but i dont know how to get the information ie what qualification trainingor experancise i need or how toapplyfor the job.
Nicole - 9-Jan-18 @ 5:02 PM
Hi I'm currently a foster carer and I'm interested in becoming a support worker. How do I go about it. Thanks
Sarah - 3-Jan-18 @ 10:54 AM
Hi Rachel, I am in exactly the same position as you I am a teaching assistant and I have just completed a degree in education and lifelong learning. I was wondering If you got any further with this. As I am also looking to go into support work? Thanks Lauren
Hugs - 1-Nov-17 @ 9:32 PM
I have a diploma in childcare and education and have been out of work for the past 10 years and now i want to get into family care work.I wanted to ask what would be the best way to do this
rani - 25-Oct-17 @ 7:02 PM
char22 - Your Question:
Hi, I am looking for some help! I am currently a homemaker, with a 2 year old son and a 6 year old daughter, and I now feel the time is right to start looking at something for me! I would love to be a family support worker but have no idea where I start! I have level 3 in childcare and education, working in a nursery for 7 years before I had my 1st child. I have done several courses in child protection, health and safety and first aid. But I am now stuck as to where I go from here. will the qualifications in childcare I have help me in any way?Any help would be so appreciated! Thank you.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which should help answer your question.
WorkingWithKids - 20-Jul-17 @ 3:09 PM
Hi, I am looking for some help! I am currently a homemaker, with a 2 year old son and a 6 year old daughter, and I now feel the time is right to start looking at something for me! I would love to be a family support worker but have no idea where I start! I have level 3 in childcare and education, working in a nursery for 7 years before I had my 1st child. I have done several courses in child protection, health and safety and first aid. But I am now stuck as to where I go from here. will the qualifications in childcare I have help me in any way? Any help would be so appreciated! Thank you.
char22 - 20-Jul-17 @ 12:24 PM
Hi I'm wanting some advice I'm a mum of 4 have been for 13 years I have no qualifications and only experience of looking after my own kids and friends , I want to work my time as mum/homemaker is done my aims are probably way over my head as I have no finance for this but I want to have my own sensory gym for children where also young mums can go for advice and or help where would I start with something like this , am I really way above my head with this ? ??
Claire - 16-Feb-17 @ 9:51 PM
I am 48 and a Mother to 4 ASD children, I have 22 years 'experience' of additional needs (as I have lived with it for that long). I was previously a Carer & do have a NVQ 2 in Care, I have also worked in child care as a Nanny before I had my children. I am looking at ways of using my experience to help others, I am also in the process of starting a support group in the village where my youngest daughters school is. I would really appreciate any advice. Thank you
jpat68 - 27-Jan-17 @ 6:45 AM
Hi I just wanted little information about how I go about applying for apprenticeship for a family centre I already have level 2 childcare and was wondering if could do my level 3 in a family centre but as a apprentice does anyone know anything that will help me please
Mary - 19-Jan-17 @ 1:35 PM
Hello, I have a BA Hons degree in childhood and youth studies and criminology, since getting my degree unfortunately I haven't utilised it and have been working in the finance sector ever since. I am now looking for a career change and would like some advice on how I would be able to start a career as a child/family support worker. Any advice possible would be fantastic on the steps I should take. Many Thanks Claire
claire - 21-Nov-16 @ 8:43 PM
Curlyc - Your Question:
Hi, I've just finished my BA (Hons) in Education and have been working as a teaching assistant for over 6yrs. I really want to progress into a family support worker role. I've managed to have a couple of interviews but always get beaten to the post by someone with more experience. How can I make this cross over? Or is there a course I need to do? Any advice please.

Our Response:
Most employers will also want you to have some practical experience. You could get this through paid or voluntary work with children, young people and their families, please see National Careers link here. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 14-Nov-16 @ 12:52 PM
Hi, I've just finished my BA (Hons) in Education and have been working as a teaching assistant for over 6yrs. I really want to progress into a family support worker role. I've managed to have a couple of interviews but always get beaten to the post by someone with more experience. How can I make this cross over? Or is there a course I need to do? Any advice please.
Curlyc - 13-Nov-16 @ 8:06 PM
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