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

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 9 Apr 2018 | 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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[Add a Comment]
@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
I am a level 3 Childcare practitioner. I am very passionate about working with children and their families. Can you please advice me on how to get started as Family support worker. Would I need further studies if so, which ones?
Ynx - 3-Nov-16 @ 10:07 AM
I have been working as a childminder for the last 19 years I have a nvq level 3 in children learning and development , I really enjoy my work but at the moment I feel like I would like to take a different path in my careerwould the experience I have be enough to apply for a family serport worker ? Thank you s winstanley
Eddie - 28-Sep-16 @ 10:13 PM
Vaidute - Your Question:
Hello, I am 32 year old and have a carrier in hairdressing which I love a lot. But I always thought I like helping advising caring for children little and older ones. I am so ready to do something more meaningful, would love to work as family support worker, but have no education for it. Is it possible to work and study at the same time, and where do I go for it. Many thanks.

Our Response:
In addition to the information in the article, please see the National Careers link herewhich will outline you your options. Good luck.
WorkingWithKids - 30-Jun-16 @ 11:44 AM
Hello, I am 32 year old and have a carrier in hairdressing which I love a lot. But I always thought I like helping advising caring for children little and older ones. I am so ready to do something more meaningful, would love to work as family support worker, but have no education for it. Is it possible to work and study at the same time, and where do I go for it. Many thanks.
Vaidute - 29-Jun-16 @ 2:57 PM
Kel - Your Question:
I really want to become a family support worker. I am 25. I have a level 2 supporting & teaching in schools. I have worked with a number of families with needs & was very successful hence why I would love to now make that my main role. Any advice would be gratly appreciated

Our Response:
I can only direct you to the National Careers site here which will give you additional advice than the article. Also, it may link you to other similar positions to allow you to make an informed choice. Good luck- it always helps in life when we know exactly what road we wish to take, and what we want to do.
WorkingWithKids - 7-Jun-16 @ 10:25 AM
I really want to become a family support worker. I am 25. I have a level 2 supporting & teaching in schools. I have worked with a number of families with needs & was very successful hence why I would love to now make that my main role. Any advice would be gratly appreciated
Kel - 6-Jun-16 @ 9:16 AM
I'm 43, just finishing my BA Hons degree in Childhood Studies at Warwick. I'm currently and Senior Early Years Practitioner and would love to be a Parent Support/Involvement Officer, and advise your be welcomed?
Fi - 25-May-16 @ 7:32 PM
Hi I have spent 12 years in the public sector covering child abuse investigations and domestic abuse. I would like to move my experience and career towards becoming a family support worker. I have qualifications which are basic CACHE level 1 early years settings CACHE level 2 support work in schools I have also signed up with open university to start health and social care degree in october 2016. The question is am going down the right path with the degree or should i be doing something else. I have signed up to volunteer at local sure start centre Thanks Tracy
Tracy - 6-May-16 @ 10:24 AM
Danni1531 - Your Question:
HiI don't know if anyone can help me I would like to work with children that have seen domestic violence within the family. Does anyone know how I go about it and what qualifications I need Thankyou

Our Response:
You could train as a social worker, where you’ll work with individuals and families and help them to improve their lives - please see link here. The main premise of the job is to provide advice and support to vulnerable individuals and families, including children. If you want to make a positive difference to children and their families' lives, and help them have a better future, then you can see more details on working as a Family Support Worker here. I hope these help.
WorkingWithKids - 1-Apr-16 @ 12:59 PM
Hi I don't know if anyone can help me I would like to work with children that have seen domestic violence within the family. Does anyone know how I go about it and what qualifications I need Thankyou
Danni1531 - 1-Apr-16 @ 9:28 AM
I am a 32 year old mum with a level 4 childcare qualification, who has worked for 12years in the private sector! Which I left to have my own child! I know believe I could make a dig fence in other parents/carers lives! I have myself experienced hirdles in raising my own child financially and emotionally I would like the opportunity to help others! I also have a level 3 management qualification!
Jode - 27-Feb-16 @ 1:05 AM
I am a committed childcare practionor who hasvsuccesfully worked for twelve years in a private sector working place, although has taken time out to raise my two yr old little girl! I have a level 4 qualification and a level 3 Qualification inanagent! I depererately want to further my chosen career to help and support others! I feel I have the knowledge and commitment to do this! This is a passion I've had from sixteen!
Jode - 27-Feb-16 @ 12:59 AM
Hi I am looking to become a support worker as I think I will be able to help a lot of young mums who have been in my situation losing parents at a young age and not having a great up bringing ... I am 22 with a 1 and half year old and I have a family support worker and looking at the help I get and how she connects with me and understands me I would love to do the same and have the same impact on other young mums as my support worker has with me and I don't know where to start
Nikki - 20-Feb-16 @ 9:03 PM
tara - Your Question:
I'm a female 18, I am wanting to become a social worker but have no idea how to get into that career? ive got experience working with children as ive been working in nurseries but now im wanting to progress to get either an apprenticeship or full time job within the area? I need help

Our Response:
You can see what qualifications you need to become a Social Worker via the National Careers website here. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 9-Feb-16 @ 2:36 PM
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