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Become A Family Support Specialist

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Working As A Family Support Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Stressful

  • $38,280

    Average Salary

What Does A Family Support Specialist Do

Social and human service assistants provide client services, including support for families, in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, and social work. They assist other workers, such as social workers, and they help clients find benefits or community services.

Duties

Social and human service assistants typically do the following:

  • Help determine what type of aid their clients need
  • Work with clients and other professionals, such as social workers, to develop a treatment plan
  • Help clients find assistance with daily activities, such as eating and bathing
  • Research services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, that are available to their clients in their communities
  • Coordinate services provided to clients
  • Help clients complete paperwork to apply for assistance programs
  • Transport clients—for example, by driving them to appointments or to services within their community
  • Check in with clients to ensure that services are provided appropriately

Social and human service assistants have many job titles, including case work aide, clinical social work aide, family service assistant, social work assistant, addictions counselor assistant, and human service worker.

Social and human service assistants help clients to identify and obtain benefits and services. In addition to initially connecting clients with benefits or services, social and human service assistants may follow up with clients to ensure that they are receiving the intended services and that the services are meeting their needs. They work under the direction of social workers, psychologists, or other social and human service workers.

With children and families, social and human service assistants ensure that the children live in safe homes. They help parents get the resources, such as food stamps or childcare, they need to care for their children.

With the elderly, these workers help clients stay in their own homes and live under their own care whenever possible. Social and human service assistants may coordinate meal deliveries or find personal care aides to help with the clients’ day-to-day needs, such as running errands and bathing. In some cases, human service workers help look for residential care facilities, such as nursing homes.

For people with disabilities, social and human service assistants help find rehabilitation services that aid their clients. They may work with employers to make a job more accessible to people with disabilities. Some workers find personal care services to help clients with daily living activities, such as bathing and making meals.

For people with addictions, human service assistants find rehabilitation centers that meet their clients’ needs. They also may find support groups for people who are dependent on alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other substances or behaviors.

With veterans, assistants help people who have been discharged from the military adjust to civilian life. They help with practical needs, such as locating housing and finding ways to apply skills gained in the military to civilian jobs. They may also help their clients navigate the overwhelming number of services available to veterans.

For people with mental illnesses, social and human service assistants help clients find the appropriate resources to help them cope with their illness. They find self-help and support groups to provide their clients with an assistance network. In addition, they may find personal care services or group housing to help those with more severe mental illnesses care for themselves.

With immigrants, workers help clients adjust to living in a new country. They help the clients locate jobs and housing. They also may help them find programs that teach English, or they may find legal assistance to help immigrants get various administrative paperwork in order.

With former prison inmates, human service assistants find job training or placement programs to help clients reenter society. Human service assistants help former inmates find housing and connect with programs that help them start a new life for themselves.

With homeless people, assistants help clients meet their basic needs. They find temporary or permanent housing for their clients and locate places, such as soup kitchens, that provide meals. Human service assistants also may help homeless people find resources to address other problems they may have, such as joblessness.

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How To Become A Family Support Specialist

Requirements for social and human service assistants vary, although they typically have at least a high school diploma and must complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers prefer to hire workers who have additional education or experience.

Education

Although a high school diploma is typically required, some employers prefer to hire workers who have relevant work experience or education beyond high school. A certificate or an associate’s degree in a subject such as human services, gerontology (working with older adults), or social or behavioral science is common for workers entering this occupation.

Human service degree programs train students to observe and interview patients, carry out treatment plans, and handle people who are undergoing a crisis. Many programs include fieldwork to give students hands-on experience.

The level of education that social and human service assistants have completed often determines the responsibilities they are given. Those with a high school diploma are likely to do lower level work, such as helping clients fill out paperwork. Assistants with some college education may coordinate program activities or manage a group home.

Although postsecondary education is important, some employers may prefer or allow for applicants who have related work experience. In some cases, candidates may substitute such experience in place of postsecondary education. 

Training

Many social and human service assistants, particularly those without any postsecondary education, undergo a period of on-the-job training. Because such workers often are dealing with multiple clients from a wide variety of backgrounds, on-the-job training in case management helps prepare them to respond appropriately to the different needs and situations of their clients.

Advancement

For social and human service assistants, additional education is almost always necessary for advancement. In general, advancement to case management or social work jobs requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in human services, counseling, rehabilitation, social work, or a related field.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Social and human service assistants talk with clients about the challenges in their lives and assist them in getting help. These workers must be able to listen to their clients and to communicate the clients’ needs to organizations that can help them.

Compassion. Social and human service assistants 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. Social and human service assistants must make their clients feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Assistants also need to build relationships with other service providers to become familiar with all of the resources that are available in their communities.

Organizational skills. Social and human service assistants often must complete lots of paperwork and work with many different clients. They must be organized in order to ensure that the paperwork is filed properly and that clients are getting the help they need.

Problem-solving skills. Social and human service assistants help clients find solutions to their problems. They must be able to listen carefully to their clients’ needs and offer practical solutions.

Time-management skills. Social and human service assistants often work with many clients. They must manage their time effectively to ensure that their clients are getting the attention they need.

Some employers require a criminal background check. In some settings, workers need a valid driver’s license.

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Family Support Specialist jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Family Educator 3.4 years
Family Worker 2.6 years
Service Counselor 2.6 years
Case Worker 2.4 years
Family Counselor 2.3 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Family Specialist 2.3 years
Support Staff 2.2 years
Outreach Worker 2.1 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 11.9%
Case Manager 10.9%
Teacher 6.7%
Volunteer 5.3%
Counselor 3.8%
Cashier 3.5%
Top Employers After
Case Manager 16.9%
Internship 6.7%
Teacher 5.5%
Therapist 4.3%
Counselor 4.2%
Volunteer 3.8%
Supervisor 2.9%

Family Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

84.9%

Male

13.2%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

77.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

77.4%

French

5.4%

Portuguese

4.1%

German

1.6%

Mandarin

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Russian

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Hmong

1.0%

Tagalog

1.0%

Italian

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Somali

0.4%

Korean

0.4%

Burmese

0.4%

Japanese

0.4%

Swahili

0.2%

Dutch

0.2%

Hindi

0.2%
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Family Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.7%

Capella University

10.0%

Ashford University

7.6%

Walden University

7.0%

Liberty University

7.0%

Arizona State University

6.8%

Grand Canyon University

6.0%

Eastern Kentucky University

4.5%

University of Louisville

4.4%

Kaplan University

4.1%

Morehead State University

3.7%

Northern Arizona University

2.8%

Portland State University

2.8%

Springfield College

2.7%

Washington State University

2.6%

Eastern Washington University

2.6%

University of Washington

2.6%

Western Kentucky University

2.4%

University of Arizona

2.3%

Florida State University

2.3%
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Majors

Social Work

18.9%

Psychology

13.8%

Human Services

8.0%

Business

7.1%

Human Development

6.7%

Criminal Justice

6.2%

Nursing

5.1%

Sociology

5.1%

Education

4.0%

Early Childhood Education

3.7%

Counseling Psychology

3.4%

Mental Health Counseling

3.2%

School Counseling

3.1%

Elementary Education

2.6%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Special Education

1.6%

Human Resources Management

1.5%

Communication

1.3%

General Studies

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.6%

Masters

30.3%

Other

13.9%

Associate

8.6%

Certificate

3.2%

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

ChildCarePublicAssistanceProgramsCrisisInterventionMentalHealthServicesSocialServiceAgenciesFamilySupportFamilyAdvocatePartnershipAgreementsChildDevelopmentSupportServicesCommunityOutreachFamilyServicesCommunityResourcesDomesticViolenceChildAbuseCommunityAgenciesMedicalAppointmentsServicePlansDataEntryLifeSkills

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Top Family Support Specialist Skills

  1. Child Care
  2. Public Assistance Programs
  3. Crisis Intervention
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted shelter residents with child care needs and programming special events.
  • Interviewed and determined eligibility for public assistance programs.
  • Provide crisis intervention and stabilization services to clients.
  • Monitored family engagement and needs in support of social work and mental health services.
  • Scheduled and transported families attending medical, employment and social service agencies appointments.

Top Family Support Specialist Employers

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Family Support Specialist Videos

A day in the life of a Special Education teacher

Working in Health and Social Care - Family Support Worker - Children and famlies

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