What Does a Community Support Worker Do?

A community support worker provides assistance to individuals with special needs, such as those with behavioral or mental health disorders, intellectual or developmental disabilities or substance abuse issues. Services offered by community support individuals include rehabilitation, community resource connections and skill building.

Community support workers are employed worldwide and often work for government and community agencies, group homes and correctional facilities. These employees help individuals manage psychiatric, developmental, social and/or medical issues by teaching them new skills or connecting them to resources, such as food banks or clothing closets, in their communities.

Workers may be responsible for conducting intake services to determine a client’s eligibility for community support services, and may make referrals to other social services providers for clients as needed. They teach skills, such as coping with mental health symptoms, managing substance abuse issues, medication management, budgeting and goal setting. These representatives may provide services in schools or in the home. They often collaborate services with members of a treatment team consisting of social workers, occupational therapists and behavioral technicians.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only a high school diploma or the equivalent are necessary for this position in the United States; however, individual agencies may have different educational requirements. This position is expected to grow to 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is faster than average. The median income for U.S. social service workers in 2012 was $28,850.