What Is a Family Services Worker? A Closer Look at This Community Support Career
By Robbie Gould on 09/21/2023
A family services worker can be a conductor to the symphony that is a family unit. Families and communities face all kinds of barriers, struggles and disasters—and sometimes, they need professionals who can evaluate their needs and help them find a path forward.
These compassionate and dedicated professionals play a pivotal role in supporting many families through life's ups and downs. Through their guidance, families can get connected with vital resources, recover from terrible situations and move toward health and happiness.
In this article, we'll dive into the fascinating and ever-important world of family services workers, exploring their roles, responsibilities and the heartwarming impact they have on the lives of individuals and families they serve.
What is a family services worker?
A family services worker, also known as a family support specialist, is a professional dedicated to assisting families in need. They work closely with individuals and family units to assess and address various challenges—often in the form of connecting people to resources, offering encouragement and a listening ear, and walking people through complicated documentation or systems that might be confusing or overwhelming.
Family services workers play a vital role in promoting the well-being of a family, and by extension, a community, as they work closely with patients to assess and address various challenges.2
They can work closely with social workers to assist in counseling and guidance when families navigate difficult situations like domestic violence, child welfare concerns, substance abuse and mental health issues.2
Family services workers typically work in government agencies, nonprofits or community-based programs.
To do this important work, they develop service plans, refer families to appropriate community resources and advocate for their rights and well-being.
What does a family services worker do?
A family services worker has a wide range of skills, duties and responsibilities focused on supporting children and their families – they identify areas of concern and create personalized plans to address those needs.
These professionals develop specialized knowledge and expertise in assessing the needs of a family.
They can provide guidance and counseling, as they connect families of all kinds with the right resources and services, such as professional counseling, parenting programs, housing assistance, protective services or healthcare.2
Family services spend lots of time collaborating with other professionals and community organizations.
A day in the life of a family services worker
Family support workers will have very different routines depending on their organization and area, but in general, a day at work might involve:
Morning prep: Review the schedule, prioritize tasks and prep any necessary documentation for the day.
Client appointments: Meet with families to assess their needs, provide support services, develop service plans or offer guidance. (These appointments can take place in the office, at clients' homes or at community centers.)
Documentation: Update client records and document progress.
Collaborative meetings: Attend meetings with colleagues, supervisors or other professionals to discuss cases, coordinate services or seek guidance.
Research: Research and identify appropriate services and options for their clients.
Administrative tasks: Answer emails, schedule appointments and complete paperwork.
Follow up: Monitor client progress, evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and make any necessary adjustments to service plans.
What skills do family support workers need?
To be successful in this role, family support workers need a combo of qualities and skills, like effective communication and active listening to build trust with your clients and create tailored service plans.3 Most importantly, perhaps, you'll need a genuine passion for helping others, including a commitment to social justice and health equity.
- Problem-solving skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Takes initiative
- Cultural competence
- Strong ability to communicate effectively
- Time management
Are you interested in working with families?
So much of who we are as people grows from our family units. Who helped us grow as children? Who supports us now? Family services workers recognize the essential power of these bonds, and they work to strengthen families and communities.
This field can be an incredible choice for people who want their work to be meaningful. But believing in what you do is only one part of a satisfying career.
Your compensation also matters. Career options and mobility matter. Get some insight on those critical details for family support workers at Human Services Salary: A Closer Look at Compensation for 4 Common Careers.
The Human Services degree programs at Rasmussen University are designed for non-licensed positions and does not academically qualify graduates for any state professional license. They are not intended for those seeking employment as a licensed social worker. For further information on professional licensing requirements, please contact the appropriate board or agency in your state of residence.
1M St. John. Forbes. What Are the Different Types of Social Workers? Date accessed 7/3/23. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/education/types-of-social-workers/
2Human Services Guide. HumanServicesEdu. The Career of a Family Support Worker. Date accessed 7/3/23. https://www.humanservicesedu.org/family-support-worker/
3Zippia. What does a family service worker do? Date accessed 7/4/23. https://www.zippia.com/family-service-worker-jobs/what-does-a-family-service-worker-do/
4ZipRecruiter. Family Support Worker Salary. Date accessed 7/4/23. https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Family-Support-Worker-Salary#Yearly
5Glassdoor. Family support workers' salaries: How much does a family support worker make? Date accessed 7/4/23. https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/family-support-worker-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm