The Child Development and Family Studies program prepares students to work with individuals and families in a variety of settings. In their classes, students examine human growth and development over the life span and family dynamics from a holistic perspective. This includes, for example, the social, physical, emotional, and intellectual development of individuals from conception through childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. In addition, family focused coursework covers issues of parenting, intergenerational relationships, families and work, violence, and other challenges that families face in today's rapidly changing society.
One of the most important components of this program is the emphasis on experiential learning. Observation, service learning, practicum, and field placement and internship opportunities are woven throughout this course of study. For example, students observe children, parents, and teachers in the department's child development centers beginning in their freshman year. They participate in practicum with children and/or service learning courses with the elderly. Students may also choose to participate in the Family Centered Community Building courses that represent a service learning initiative focused on the critical and reciprocal relationships between families and their communities. Finally, students in Child Development and Family Studies learn the ethics of professional conduct as well as program development, implementation and evaluation through the completion of two supervised work experiences that include a 100 hour field placement in their junior year and a 300 hour internship in their senior year.
Employment opportunities are diverse and include:
child life specialist (helping children and their families cope with hospitalizations)
adoption and/or foster care worker
crisis intervention service provider (domestic violence programs, substance abuse centers, child advocacy centers)
family life educator in family resource and support centers (referral, support, and educational programs for parents, families in need, military families, and/or special needs individuals)
youth worker (counselor, program coordinator, service provider for programs such as community outreach centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA, YWCA , etc.)
child and family advocate (court advocate for children and/or survivors of abuse, political advocate at the state level)
family and child case worker (needs assessment of families and children)
child care provider and administrator (child care centers, RIP programs, Project HELP- children with developmental delays, YMCA programs)
family resource and support centers (referral, support, and educational programs for families in need, military families, and/or special needs individuals)
elder care advocate, service provider and administrator (volunteer coordinator, social services director)
There is a growing demand for individuals trained to work with families and people who need help. The demand for graduates with people-oriented skills is expected to increase in the near future. Whether you work with senior citizens, adults, adolescents, or young children, the choice is up to you.
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