Family Support Specialist 

Photo by Photo by Larry Crayton on Unsplash

Job Overview: Family specialists/counselors including titles such as Parent/Caregiver Educator, Consumer Education Specialist, Program Coordinator, and Family Service Coordinator may provide services in the home, the early care and education setting or in an agency office.  Some have particular content expertise, such as child care referral counselors who help families learn about different types of child care in their community, or social workers who assess eligibility for child care subsidy. Others may need to know about a wide range of parent education, early childhood education and community support services for families to respond to the diverse needs of the individuals they serve.1,3

Places of Possible Employment:
Public and nonprofit agencies such as Smart Start Partnerships, Child Care Resource & Referral Departments, County Health and Human Services DepartmentsRegional Health Agencies, Private firms, CDSA’s or Part C Exceptional Services Agencies, Public schools as Family Engagement Coordinators, Head Start programs as Family Service Coordinators, Children’s Museums, Triple P Regional Agencies1,3

Minimum Education & Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Early Childhood Special Education, Social Work, Psychology3 

Recommended Previous Experience:

Early Childhood Educator, Early Childhood Special Educator, Child Development Specialist, Social Worker, Counselor3 

Salary Range:  $26,660 – $55,9103

Professional Standards: In addition to the NAEYC’s Professional Standards and Competencies and the NAEYC Code of Ethics, Family Support Specialist positions

  • are fueled by parents’ passion for their children  
  • are based on mutual respect and trust 
  • affirm and celebrate families’ cultures and languages  
  • provide opportunities for two-way communications 
  • include authentic interactions that are meaningful to those who participate in them 
  • often require awareness of personal biases and the effect of those biases on mutual respect and trust10,13 

Additional Resources:
  1. Child Care Aware of America. (2018). Opportunities for family engagement through consumer education under ccdbg and ccdf. 

  2. Child Care Services Association. (2012).Nine ways to support teachers in making a difference for young children. Retrieved from 

  3. Child Care Services Association. (2018).Careers in early childhood a North Carolina directory, fifth edition. Retrieved from 

  4. Division of Child Development and Early Education.(N.d.). North Carolina Minimum Requirements for Teachers. Retrieved from,%20Lead%20Teacher,%20Teacher,%20SA%20Group%20Leader,%20SA%20Program%20Coordinator.pdf 

  5. Power to the Profession. (2020).  Professional standards and competencies for early childhood educators. Retrieved from 

  6. Power to the Profession. (2020).Unifying framework for the early childhood education profession. Retrieved from 

  7. National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. (2018).Education requirements for center-based assistant teachers. Staff qualifications:  Steps for programs to consider. 

  8. National Center for Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. (2018).Education requirements for center-based preschool teachers. Staff qualifications: Steps for programs to consider. Retrieved from 

  9. National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning. (2018).Education requirements for coaches. Staff qualifications: Steps for programs to consider. Retrieved from

  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, and Office of Child Care, by the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. (2018). Parent, family and community engagement framework for early childhood systems. Retrieved from 

  11. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. (2018).Relationship-based competencies to support family engagement: A guide for early childhood professionals who work with families. Retrieved from  

  12. National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance. (2017). Designing family-friendly consumer education on child care. Retrieved from 

  13. North Carolina Institute for Child Development Professionals. (2017).  NC early care and education professional certification scale. Retrieved from


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