Family Support Workers

SoWRA provides a Contact Centre that is child and family focused for children and families to enjoy contact in a relaxed environment as well as provides experienced family support workers who supervise contact between children and families as well write reports that will feed into the Local Authority’s/social workers report parenting assessments.

As a family support worker, you’ll offer practical help and emotional support to families experiencing short or long-term difficulties. You’ll typically be employed by local authorities’ social services departments or charitable organisations.

The focus of your role is to provide support to service users, empowering them to address various challenges, reducing problems and risks and, in some cases, helping to make sure that children can remain with their family.

You might help parents and children with a range of social and personal issues or specialise in a particular area such as domestic abuse, bereavement or homelessness.

Job titles vary and you may also be known as a:

  • family intervention officer
  • family outreach officer
  • family welfare assistant
  • key worker
  • parenting support worker
  • project worker.

Responsibilities

Families are usually referred to you by a social worker, and you may work together to assess and support the service users. Your role will vary depending on the needs of the family you’re helping, but you may also have a specialist area, depending on your employer’s focus.

The challenges faced by your service users could relate to:

  • anti-social behaviour and criminal activity, such as a parent in prison
  • behaviour and social interaction
  • bereavement and caring responsibilities
  • bullying
  • domestic violence and abuse
  • drug and alcohol addiction
  • education and learning
  • finance and debt
  • housing and homelessness
  • language barriers
  • marital discord, separation and divorce, including care orders
  • parenting skills
  • physical and mental health issues, disabilities and learning difficulties.

As a family support worker, you’ll typically need to:

  • complete an initial assessment of families’ needs so that you can identify and plan the support needed to address issues and prevent any problems from escalating
  • undertake regular caseload review meetings with individuals and families during home and community visits to ensure they’re fully supported to progress and achieve desired outcomes
  • work with colleagues, health and social care professionals and multi-agency networks to evaluate caseload needs and the progress that has been made
  • adhere to professional practice standards and legislation, including confidentiality, safeguarding, equality, diversity and inclusion policies
  • ensure you’re up-to-date on your knowledge of local service provision for appropriate signposting and referrals
  • manage your own workload, administration and diary commitments
  • assess parenting skills and help people to build physical and emotional caring abilities through a range of practical activities
  • help children with learning and development
  • enhance parents’ understanding of different education and play strategies
  • provide practical home management and budgeting advice to parents
  • coach, mentor and motivate families to understand the benefits of relevant activities
  • maintain accurate and up-to-date administration and caseload records, including reports of all interactions
  • stay with a family during a crisis situation, such as a parent being in hospital
  • attend court sessions when relevant, for example in cases of child protection.