Child and Family Development

Child development is a twentieth-century profession that arose out of a desire to improve the total welfare of children and their families. It is a professional field that merges theory with practical application. Many fields of study, including psychology, biology and sociology, contribute to the growth of the professional.

The child development minor is an important adjunct for students in such areas as education, psychology, recreation, social work, and sociology. Students who select this minor can benefit from a broad understanding of life as a developmental process.

Program Overview

The mission of the Child and Family Development department is to educate people for employment in the public sector and for employment in certain areas of the private sector. The special skills, experiences, and areas of knowledge gained by a child development major are varied and include:

  • developmental perspective
  • knowledge of the development (physical, psychological, emotional, social) of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, pre-teens, adolescents
  • knowledge of family violence and child maltreatment
  • research skills
  • developmentally appropriate curriculum
  • mainstreaming, team-teaching, interagency community networking, cross-discipline experiences
  • developmental dysfunctions
  • advocacy and public policy
  • knowledge of dating, marriage, parenting, parent-child and peer relationships, family development, adulthood and aging
  • early intervention skills
  • cross-cultural perspective
  • family life education skills
  • program development, administration, and evaluation
  • observational, effective communication, and group dynamic skills

The instructional intent of the department is to train people in specific skills, techniques and knowledge, and to educate them to think critically and to adapt to changing political and social environments. The faculty strives to develop well-informed, politically and morally sensitive citizens.

Special Features

  • Field experience programs offer students supervised work in community agencies, children's programs, and the Associated Students' Campus Children's Center. Special programs, such as Art and Music Experience for Children, often extend service through the summer and allow for creative collaboration across disciplines. All children's programs are mainstreamed and a wide range of special needs and at-risk populations are served by a full-inclusion program.
  • The Child and Family Development Student Association is open to all child development majors. Its varied activities include career day programs, faculty-student sharing sessions, and annual career workshops.

Career Opportunities

Many child development graduates are now working as administrators for infant/pre-school daycare programs; parent educators and staff for child, family or social service agencies; specialists for child development programs (e.g., staff of Child Care Resource Services); curriculum consultants for early childhood programs; trainers of paraprofessionals in child and family programs (e.g., Head Start); consultants for toy companies; and staff members in juvenile homes or in family support and health agencies.

Graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in child development who wish to continue their education have several options. They are eligible for programs leading to the multiple subject or single subject teaching credential and the specialist credential in special education or early childhood education. The child development degree also provides a flexible curriculum base for continuation into graduate programs in child development and/or family relations; and in child, family, and marriage counseling; social work; psychology, law, sociology, or family and consumer sciences.

To further explore career options in this field, visit the Career Services Web site for more information.

General Catalog

You can view more complete information regarding the Child and Family Development program in the General Catalog. All students are responsible for reading and knowing the information pertinent to their areas of study available in the General Catalog. It contains requirements for all academic majors, course descriptions, policies, and regulations governing progress at the university. Catalogs are distributed at all New Student Orientation programs. To order a General Catalog, call (619) 594-7535.