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Become A Family Support Specialist

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Working As A Family Support Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $37,913

    Average Salary

What Does A Family Support Specialist Do

Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. One group of social workers—clinical social workers—also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues.   

Duties

Social workers typically do the following:

  • Identify people and communities in need of help
  • Assess clients’ needs, situations, strengths, and support networks to determine their goals
  • Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their lives, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment
  • Research, refer, and advocate for community resources, such as food stamps, childcare, and healthcare to assist and improve a client’s well-being
  • Respond to crisis situations such as child abuse and mental health emergencies
  • Follow up with clients to ensure that their situations have improved
  • Evaluate services provided to ensure that they are effective
  • Develop and evaluate programs and services to ensure that basic client needs are met
  • Provide psychotherapy services

Social workers help people cope with challenges in their lives. They help with a wide range of situations, such as adopting a child or being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Social workers may work with children, people with disabilities, and people with serious illnesses and addictions. Their work varies based on the type of client they are working with.

Some social workers work with groups, community organizations, and policymakers to develop or improve programs, services, policies, and social conditions. This focus of work is referred to as macro social work.

Advocacy is an important aspect of social work. Social workers advocate or raise awareness with and on behalf of their clients and the social work profession on local, state, and national levels.

The following are examples of types of social workers:

Child and family social workers protect vulnerable children and help families in need of assistance. They help families find housing or services, such as childcare, or apply for benefits, such as food stamps. They intervene when children are in danger of neglect or abuse. Some help arrange adoptions, locate foster families, or work to reunite families.

Clinical social workers—also called licensed clinical social workers—diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression. They provide individual, group, family, and couples therapy; they work with clients to develop strategies to change behavior or cope with difficult situations; and they refer clients to other resources or services, such as support groups or other mental health professionals. Clinical social workers can develop treatment plans with the client, doctors, and other healthcare professionals and may adjust the treatment plan if necessary based on their client’s progress. They may also provide mental healthcare to help children and families cope with changes in their lives, such as divorce or other family problems.

Many clinical social workers work in private practice. In these settings, clinical social workers also perform administrative and recordkeeping tasks, such as working with insurance companies in order to receive payment for their services. Some work in a group practice with other social workers or mental health professionals.

School social workers work with teachers, parents, and school administrators to develop plans and strategies to improve students’ academic performance and social development. Students and their families are often referred to social workers to deal with problems such as aggressive behavior, bullying, or frequent absences from school.

Healthcare social workers help patients understand their diagnosis and make the necessary adjustments to their lifestyle, housing, or healthcare. For example, they may help people make the transition from the hospital back to their homes and communities. In addition, they may provide information on services, such as home healthcare or support groups, to help patients manage their illness or disease. Social workers help doctors and other healthcare professionals understand the effects that diseases and illnesses have on patients’ mental and emotional health.

Some healthcare social workers specialize in geriatric social work, hospice and palliative care, or medical social work:

  • Geriatric social workers help senior citizens and their families. They help clients find services, such as programs that provide older adults with meals or with home healthcare. They may provide information about assisted living facilities or nursing homes, or work with older adults in those settings. They help clients and their families make plans for possible health complications or for where clients will live if they can no longer care for themselves.
  • Hospice and palliative care social workers help patients adjust to serious, chronic, or terminal illnesses. Palliative care focuses on relieving or preventing pain and other symptoms associated with serious illness. Hospice is a type of palliative care for people who are dying. Social workers in this setting provide and find services, such as support groups or grief counselors, to help patients and their families cope with the illness or disease.
  • Medical social workers in hospitals help patients and their families by linking patients with resources in the hospital and in their own community. They may work with medical staff to create discharge plans, make referrals to community agencies, facilitate support groups, or conduct followup visits with patients once they have been discharged.

Mental health and substance abuse social workers help clients with mental illnesses or addictions. They provide information on services, such as support groups and 12-step programs, to help clients cope with their illness. Many clinical social workers function in these roles as well.

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How To Become A Family Support Specialist

Although most social workers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, clinical social workers must have a master’s degree and 2 years of post-master’s experience in a supervised clinical setting. Clinical social workers must also be licensed in the state in which they practice.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) is the most common requirement for entry-level positions. However, some employers may hire workers who have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as psychology or sociology.

A BSW prepares students for direct-service positions such as caseworker or mental health assistant. These programs teach students about diverse populations, human behavior, social welfare policy, and ethics in social work. All programs require students to complete supervised fieldwork or an internship.

Some positions require a master’s degree in social work (MSW), which generally takes 2 years to complete. Master’s degree programs in social work prepare students for work in their chosen specialty by developing clinical assessment and management skills. All programs require students to complete a supervised practicum or an internship.

A bachelor’s degree in social work is not required in order to enter a master’s degree program in social work. Although a degree in almost any major is acceptable, courses in psychology, sociology, economics, and political science are recommended. Some programs allow graduates with a bachelor’s degree in social work to earn their master’s degree in 1 year.

In 2015, there were more than 500 bachelor’s degree programs and more than 200 master’s degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.

Some universities offer doctoral programs in social work, where students can earn a Doctorate of Social Work (DSW) or a Ph.D. Most doctoral programs in social work require students to have a master’s in social work and experience in the field. Many doctor’s students go on to work as postsecondary teachers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states have licensure or certification requirements for nonclinical social workers. Requirements vary by state.

All states require clinical social workers to be licensed. However, some states provide exemptions for clinical social workers who work in government agencies. Becoming a licensed clinical social worker requires a master’s degree in social work and a minimum of 2 years of supervised clinical experience after graduation. After completing their supervised experience, clinical social workers must pass a clinical exam to be licensed.

Because licensing requirements vary by state, those interested should contact their state board. For more information about regulatory licensure boards by state, contact the Association of Social Work Boards.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives. To effectively help, social workers must be able to listen to and understand their clients’ needs.

Empathy. Social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations. To develop strong relationships, they must have compassion and empathy for their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Being able to work with different groups of people is essential for social workers. They need strong people skills to foster healthy and productive relationships with their clients and colleagues.

Organizational skills. Social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment.

Problem-solving skills. Social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems.

Time-management skills. Social workers often have many clients and administrative responsibilities. They must effectively manage their time to provide adequate service to all of their clients.

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Family Support Specialist Jobs

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Family Support Specialist Career Paths

Family Support Specialist
Program Coordinator Assistant Director Office Manager
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Parent Educator Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Therapist
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Social Worker
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Family Specialist Family Support Worker Advocate
Family Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Mental Health Therapist Medical Social Worker
Geriatric Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Parent Educator Program Coordinator Clinician
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Coordinator Registered Nurse Supervisor
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Programming Specialist Registered Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Therapist Family Counselor Case Manager
Intensive Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Family Support Worker Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Program Director Sales Consultant Leasing Consultant
Resident Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Director Home Health Aid Licensed Practical Nurse
Resident Services Director
6 Yearsyrs
Programming Specialist Home Health Aid Direct Support Professional
Residential Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Therapist Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Medical Social Worker
Social Work Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Family Support Worker Program Manager Program Director
Unit Director
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Family Support Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Family Educator 3.5 years
Parent Educator 3.3 years
Family Worker 2.6 years
Case Worker 2.4 years
Family Specialist 2.3 years
Support Staff 2.0 years
Intake Specialist 1.9 years
Parent Aide 1.9 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 12.7%
Case Manager 10.9%
Teacher 6.4%
Volunteer 6.2%
Counselor 4.1%
Cashier 3.9%
Top Employers After
Case Manager 16.3%
Internship 7.2%
Teacher 5.1%
Therapist 4.6%
Counselor 4.4%
Volunteer 4.1%
Clinician 3.3%
Director 2.9%

Do you work as a Family Support Specialist?

Family Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

84.8%

Male

13.2%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.8%

Black or African American

9.6%

Asian

6.4%

Unknown

3.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

77.4%

French

5.3%

Portuguese

4.5%

German

1.7%

Mandarin

1.3%

Arabic

1.3%

Hmong

1.1%

Russian

1.1%

Tagalog

1.1%

Chinese

1.1%

Cantonese

1.1%

Italian

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Somali

0.4%

Korean

0.4%

Japanese

0.4%

Swahili

0.2%

Dutch

0.2%

Hindi

0.2%

Bulgarian

0.2%
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Family Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.4%

Capella University

10.5%

Ashford University

7.9%

Liberty University

7.1%

Arizona State University

6.9%

Walden University

6.5%

Grand Canyon University

5.7%

Eastern Kentucky University

4.9%

University of Louisville

4.6%

Morehead State University

3.9%

Kaplan University

3.6%

Northern Arizona University

3.1%

Western Kentucky University

2.7%

University of Washington

2.6%

Springfield College

2.6%

Eastern Washington University

2.5%

University of Arizona

2.5%

Washington State University

2.4%

Murray State University

2.4%

University of Southern California

2.4%
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Majors

Social Work

19.5%

Psychology

14.3%

Human Services

8.2%

Business

7.5%

Human Development

6.5%

Criminal Justice

6.5%

Sociology

5.4%

Education

3.7%

Mental Health Counseling

3.4%

Counseling Psychology

3.4%

School Counseling

3.4%

Early Childhood Education

3.4%

Nursing

2.9%

Elementary Education

2.3%

Health Care Administration

2.0%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Human Resources Management

1.6%

Special Education

1.6%

Communication

1.4%

Management

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.7%

Masters

30.9%

Other

13.6%

Associate

8.4%

Certificate

3.0%

Doctorate

1.7%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Family Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Family Advocate/Surgery Chaplain The Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD Jan 01, 2012 $47,091
Family Advocate, Social Care Worker Frances Pope Memorial Foundation, Inc. New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $44,098
Family Advocate Horizons for Homeless Children MA Oct 01, 2011 $42,000
Family Supported Health Specialist Easter Seals Society of Metropolitan Chicago Inc. Chicago, IL Jun 01, 2010 $42,000
Student and Family Advocate Grupo Palo Alto Palo Alto, CA Aug 31, 2016 $41,740
Student and Family Advocate Room To Talk Palo Alto, CA Jan 06, 2016 $41,740
Fcch Family Support Specialist Erie Neighborhood House Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2011 $39,000
Student & Family Advocate Grupo Palo Alto East Palo Alto, CA Sep 20, 2013 $37,420 -
$47,083
Family Advocate Harbor Health Services, Inc. MA May 02, 2011 $37,232
Family Advocate Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, In MA Sep 02, 2014 $36,200 -
$38,500
Family Advocate-Domestic Violence Program Asian Americans for Community Involvement San Jose, CA Jul 01, 2014 $36,000
Home Visitor In The Nurturing Families Network Pro Family Centers Inc. Stamford, CT Oct 01, 2011 $35,500
Family Support/Health Specialist Easter Seals Society of Metropolitan Chicago Inc. Chicago, IL Feb 20, 2009 $35,232
Family Support Specialist Eyes On The Future, Inc. Chicago, IL Sep 16, 2015 $35,200
Student and Family Advocate Mental Research Institute Palo Alto, CA Jan 09, 2016 $33,517
Family Support Specialist Family & Children's Services, Inc. Tulsa, OK Mar 22, 2010 $33,308
Family Advocate, Domestic Violence Asian Americans for Community Involvement San Jose, CA Feb 22, 2014 $33,134 -
$38,000
Family Support Specialist Southwest Human Development Phoenix, AZ Aug 26, 2011 $32,975
Family Advocate Milwaukee Center for Children and Youth, Inc. Milwaukee, WI Jan 09, 2016 $32,500
Bilingual Family Advocate Shelter Ministries of Dallas Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2010 $32,000
Family Support Specialist Family & Children's Services, Inc. Tulsa, OK Sep 12, 2011 $29,000
Family Support Advocate United Community Action Programs, Inc. Stillwater, OK Dec 02, 2012 $27,877

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Top Skills for A Family Support Specialist

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  1. Child
  2. Public Assistance Programs
  3. Community Agencies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist clients with attaining quality childcare, educational assistance and other social/community needs.
  • Determined initial and continuing client eligibility for Missouri public assistance programs according to state and federal standards and policies.
  • Promoted effective community support for families by coordination an advocacy for services with local community agencies.
  • Provide crisis intervention for families including accompanying families to community agencies on an as-needed basis.
  • Monitor and update pertinent confidential health data for enrolled children and parents including dental/medical requirements, nutrition and mental health needs.

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Top Family Support Specialist Employers

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Jobs From Top Family Support Specialist Employers

Family Support Specialist Videos

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