Social worker and family support worker

Social workers and family support workers work with educators using a capacity building approach to enhance children's wellbeing or access and inclusion.

Program details

  • Priority area: Wellbeing (social and emotional), access and inclusion
  • Primary audience: Educators, parents/carers, children
  • Delivery mode: Professional services, consultancy, group training, online
  • Strength of evidence: Professional services
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Emotional maturity anxious and fearful behaviour
    • Emotional maturity aggressive behaviour
    • Emotional maturity hyperactivity and inattentive behaviour
    • Social competence responsibility and respect
  • Item cost: Variable

Program description

Social workers, using an approach that builds on existing skills and knowledge, work with educators and parents/carers through case consultation, provision of group training and other discipline-specific services to enhance children's wellbeing or access and inclusion. Social work interventions can augment other psycho-social support and capability building occurring at your service.

Family support workers work with educators to identify, engage and support children and families that have multiple and complex needs and are experiencing barriers to participation. Family support workers can proactively engage with children and families to ensure they enrol and participate in high-quality kindergarten programs.

Family support workers can provide guidance, practical support and information to parents/carers and case workers about kindergarten provision and the benefits.

Social workers and family support workers can work with educators to build on existing skills and knowledge in working with families and children experiencing vulnerability, through coaching and mentoring in order to enhance their confidence in supporting children's wellbeing.

Detailed costs

Variable depending on providers.

Implementation considerations

Target population: early childhood educators, children and families.

Program/practice descriptions and details: social workers and family support workers should use a strengths-based approach with a clear strategic focus on increasing the engagement and participation of children and their families in education. Practitioners should have documented practice frameworks that include risk assessment related to children and families and the provision of outreach support. Clear process management and supervision of workers should also be in place.

Social workers should hold a Bachelor degree, have a minimum of two years' experience and are required to work within the VEYLDF.

Family support workers should also have a minimum of two years' experience and preferably hold a Bachelor degree in a related field such as social work, community services or psychology and are required to work within the VEYLDF. However, if the above support frameworks and procedures are in place a Diploma qualified family support worker with more than two years experience may also be considered.

Program adaptability: services should consider, in consultation with a social worker and/or family support worker, the needs of their staff and children, and how best they may be supported.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Partnerships with families
  • Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
  • Equity and diversity
  • Partnerships with professionals
  • Reflective practice
  • High expectations for every child
  • Assessment for learning and development
  • Integrated teaching and learning approaches

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.


It is recommended that services partner with or approach community service organisations currently providing psycho-social support, such as Family Services to engage a social worker or family support worker.

The Australian Association of Social Workers website may also be helpful.