Do you want to help ensure children’s well-being and healthy development? Family support is a field where professionals help families with young children by providing direct services or connecting them with supports in their community. Family support strengthens family resilience and assists children with developmental disabilities. You will connect families with their community, and provide individualized, family-driven support that respects their culture, values, and preferences.
When you work in family support, you can choose from two types of occupations depending on where you work. The first type of job is located in an organization, and you provide family supports at that location. In this type of job, you could be a family services professional, parent liaison, or a service coordinator. The other type of job is home visiting, where you might serve as a home visitor or an early intervention special instructor. Home visiting is a way of working with children and families of children prenatal through kindergarten entry. As a home visitor, you develop relationships with families over time. The home visits with parents are the primary way for providing support or guidance.
Occupations in this Field
Family Services Professional: Work with families to build strength-based relationships and encourage families to identify and set achievable goals. Support families in developing the knowledge and skills they need to access resources. Help families become leaders within their communities. Promote and strengthen bonds between parent and child. Occupation titles include family advocate, family support professional, and family support specialist.
Parent Liaison: Bridge the gap between home and school. Help parents get the information and support they need to ensure their child’s academic and social success.
Service Coordinator: Support families who have children age birth to three years who have developmental delays or disabilities. Conduct family assessments to learn their strengths and needs, collect information on the child’s development, and coordinate evaluation/ assessments for the child. Facilitate Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meetings, and coordinate and monitor the delivery of early intervention services to families. Provide families with information about other services, coordinate with medical and health providers, and facilitate transition from the Early Intervention program.
Home Visitor: Partner with families and children to create a trusting relationship with families to cultivate and strengthen nurturing parent-child relationships; to promote healthy childhood growth and development; and to enhance family functioning by reducing risk and building protective factors. Home visitors assist in assessing family’s strengths and needs to promote understanding of child development including developmental milestones and school readiness. Home visitors may provide developmental screenings, guidance on positive parenting skills, community resources and referrals to additional programs to assist with meeting the needs of the family and child.
- Early Intervention Special Instructor: Work directly with families and children age birth to three years who have developmental delays or disabilities through the Early Intervention, First Steps program. Special instruction is designed to provide educational activities related to a child’s general development in adaptive, cognitive, communication, physical and social/emotional development. Special instruction for First Steps includes coaching and educating the family to improve the child’s abilities in one or more developmental area, including hearing and vision. Special instructors also monitor children’s progress and provide specialized instruction to meet the child’s needs as part of their Individualized Family Service Plan, and supports the transition from the Early Intervention, First Steps program to Special Education in a school district or other early childhood programs or resources.
- Head Start or Early Head Start
- Private Homes or Child’s Natural Environment (i.e. community setting, local park, library, etc.)
- Child Care Centers/Special Purpose Centers
- Private and Public Preschools
- Family Resource Centers
- County Health Departments/Clinics
- Child Welfare Agencies