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

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 27 Mar 2024 | 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)


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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Hi I am currently working as a Bank Manager for the past 30 years and I am taking VR. I want a complete change of career and would love to work in family support I have two grown up children that have done extremely well and I am so proud of. Back in 2019 I fostered my two nephews as their parents became involved in drugs and I was desperate to help them the oldest one is now at Bristol University and the youngest is still with me. I have no qualifications but I have passion drive and determination to help families and children deserve a normal life.back in 2019 I fostered my two nephews as well
w - 27-Mar-24 @ 10:26 PM
I’m 41 with a whole host of life experiences involving positive parenting courses attended , I have children with adhd ASD an a lot of difficult experiences and would like to use these skills I have learnt to help others I have no qualifications as in childcare or health care although I have had past work with elderly and disabled adults so what qualifications would I need to go along my life experience would I need to become a family support worker
Ness - 9-Oct-23 @ 10:04 PM
Hi I've been working with children for 20 years plus both childminding and in a nursery school. I've always been interested in becoming a family worker or even a play therapist. Please can you give me some advice on how I can go about getting started.
EMPRESSB - 9-Oct-23 @ 12:16 PM
Hi I've been working with children for the 20 plus years both childminding and in a nursery school at present I'm a childminder. I've always been interested in becoming a family worker or even a play therapist. Please can you advise me on how will I go about getting into the family worker's role.
EMPRESSB - 9-Oct-23 @ 12:10 PM
Hello, I am looking at changing career and becoming a family support worker. I have started volunteering for a family support charity. I have been accepted onto a level 3 technical certificate health and social care course. My other option is to start on aonline Athe level 3 Health and Social Care diploma. Which is my best option?
Dee - 26-Jul-21 @ 8:22 AM
Hi I am looking at changing career . I am volunteering for a family support charity and have been offered a place on a Health and Social Care care level 3 technical certificate course. I have also been looking at on line health and social care course athelevel 3 diploma .which would be the most successful course to get employment as a family support worker
Dee - 24-Jul-21 @ 9:52 AM
I have a level 3 in health and social care I've recently been helping a friend to regain contact with his son, I have found it really interesting as a job to go forward in. But I'm stuck on how to go about it as a job like what profession it would be under etc
Stac - 29-Nov-20 @ 2:12 PM
im currently a Childminder,ive been doing this for 11 years now and as much as I love the children, I need a change. I have my NVQ level 3 in childcare, learning and development. Ive also worked in a nursery for 6 years. What course's/ experience would I need to be become a children's out reach worker? Thankyou
nic - 2-Oct-20 @ 8:34 PM
Hi i am 17 and i want to know what qualifications i will need to become a family social worker. i am starting my second year of college in September doing a level 3 health and social work course, i will be going university in 2021 hoping to study social work, am i choosing the right course for the career i want to do?
Lauren - 18-Aug-20 @ 6:50 PM
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Tracey - 23-Apr-20 @ 9:16 AM
Hi! I would appreciate any advice. I’m really wanting to become a family support worker. Either in a school or even in a prison. I have absolutely no idea how to go about this. Any advice would be appreciated. I’m 18, have GCSES, but that’s it.I am open to doing online courses & thought maybe I could approach any schools nearby asking to volunteer etc.
Chloedevine - 19-Apr-20 @ 1:54 AM
Hi. I am wanting to get more involved in outreach work. I'm a qualified nursey nurse at level 3 and i would love to be able to transition over into outreach. Any information would be great. I'm based I. South tyneside
Bee - 24-Feb-20 @ 2:51 PM
Looking for work, maybe part time or sessional. I have NVQ Level 3 Early Years and various experiences.
N/A - 24-Feb-20 @ 12:44 PM
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Chez - 29-Jan-20 @ 10:40 PM
I would like to pursue the course of a Family Support worker am doing voluntary on children between 13-18 in Watford what courses do I look out for and and which Colleges or university does them
Pauline - 16-Jan-20 @ 10:21 AM
I would like a career change from being a class room teacher for 15 years in primaryeducationand 14 ofafter school homeworkassistanceof childrenin primaryschool whose parents either travel a lot due to work or come home late from work. Am looking for a child supportjob looking after children in orphange homes or rehabilitationcentres. I have a Diploma in education , a degree in SpecialNeedsand am currently doing a post graduate degree in Child Sensitiveand SocialPolicies and will graduate in October this 2020 I have astrong desire to help childrenrespecting,protectingand fulfilling their needs and rights as young children hence I would like a chance to fulfill my goal in this area. Am currentlya volunteercare giver at Island Hospicein Zimbabwe and I once volunteeredat nurseryschool in our neighbourhoodfor6 months in 2018.
Kiki - 7-Jan-20 @ 2:17 PM
Hi, I am currently studying for my early years foundation degree but I want to get into family support work, would the 16 hours be counted as a support worker or would they still need to be within an early years setting? Thank you
Rhianne - 5-Oct-19 @ 9:59 PM
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Becca - 2-Oct-19 @ 6:14 PM
Hi I'm 16 years old and am wanting to become a support worker for childrenin care and was wondering how I go about this
Kylie.lamb - 2-Sep-19 @ 4:43 PM
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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
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Trisha - 22-Nov-18 @ 8:36 PM
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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
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Shevy - 5-Oct-18 @ 9:37 AM
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