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

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 26 Jul 2021 | 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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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
Hi. I have worked as a early years practitionerfor over 20 years both in schools in the UK and Service children's Education overseasI now work as a pupil support worker with send and mostly SEMH children in a very deprived area. I also have a lot of experience of chronic mental health with a close family member. Now I'm back in the UK I would like to start a new career working in the community with children and families. I have a level 3 diploma in Children and Young People's Workforce (QCF), Open University certificate in Health and Social Care and also Mental Health and Distress. Thank you. Tracey
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
Hi, I am thinking of a career in family support, I have been out of work for a couple of years after having children myself, I have recently had involvement via family support after leaving a domestic abusive marriageand am currently doing a you, me and mum course and feel that a role in family support and being able to run the same courseswould be so rewarding after being on the other end
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
Hi, I’m 29 and have a real passion to support families. I’ve worked in a nursery for 4 years and worked as a family worker in a church for 4 years. I also have a BA hons in Early Childhood Studies. I would love to pursue a career in supporting children and their families and would love to know how I go about this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you Becca
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
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
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