Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Child Development and Family Relations

The Child Development and Family Relations program prepares students for professional positions working with children, youth, and families in educational programs and community services on the local, state, and national levels.

Students will graduate with in-depth knowledge of child growth and development (prenatal through adolescence), family dynamics, and family relationships. Child Development and Family Relations provides “hands-on” experience with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers as well as field experiences with social service agencies.

Are you looking for a career where you can...

  • Teach in preschool, child care, or Head Start
  • Provide home-based services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays
  • Administer or direct a child care or Head Start program
  • Increase parent’s knowledge of child development and parenting
  • Work with families who are having difficulty parenting
  • Provide support services for teen parents
  • Facilitate skill groups for at-risk teens
  • Provide support and assistance to abused and/or homeless families
  • Work in a hospital setting as a therapist with young children
  • Implement programs for older adults at a senior center

Then Child Development and Family Relations is the major for you!

Career Opportunities

  • Early Intervention Specialist
  • Child Care Teacher/Counselor
  • Head Start Teacher
  • Child Care Center Director/ Head Start Director
  • Educational Coordinator for Child Care/Head Start
  • Child Life Specialist
  • Case Worker
  • Parent Educator
  • Residential Home Counselor
  • Youth Counselor
  • Juvenile Justice Worker
  • Family Life Educator

About Our Graduates

Graduates of the Child Development and Family Relations program are well respected for their knowledge and skills in the child development and human services fields. Many graduates go on to professional positions in child development programs as teachers and administrators, working in private and nonprofit programs, franchised programs, military-related programs, and/or business-sponsored programs. Others move into youth and families programs and state and federal social service programs. Our graduates also continue on to graduate school in counseling, adult education, social work, child development, family studies, marriage and family therapy, juvenile justice, early childhood education, and related fields.

Learning Opportunities

A major in Child Development and Family Relations prepares students to work in diverse settings and roles. Majors have many different opportunities to learn, including:

  • Lectures, large and small group discussion, videos, buzz groups, individual and group projects, and field trips
  • Hands-on experience with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers
  • Service Learning opportunities with community service agencies
  • Internships in over fifty agencies/programs
  • Opportunity to minor in Sociology, Psychology, Criminology, Women’s Studies, Educational Psychology, Deaf Education, or other subjects
  • Opportunity to obtain Private School Nursery-Kindergarten Certification
  • CDFR Council, a service club where majors work together on community projects and visit child care and family programs throughout the state

Opportunities for Current Childcare Professionals

  • TEACH Scholarship Program
    If you are an employee of a child care program and want to increase your credentials, you may qualify for a TEACH Scholarship. TEACH covers most of your tuition, books, and a travel stipend. The sponsoring child care program must pay for release time, and each participant must complete a certain number of credits toward a credential in early childhood education. At the end of the scholarship year, participants agree to continue working in their child care program for at least one year and are eligible to receive a bonus or raise.
  • Pennsylvania Early Childhood Director Core Certificate Program
    Students take three classes at IUP and apply to Pennsylvania Keys for certification.
    Contact at IUP: Dr. Fredalene Bowers
  • Earn a Certified Family Life Educator Credential from National Council of Family Relations.
    Students take three classes at IUP to apply for certification.
    Contact at IUP: Dr. Fredalene Bowers

Available Certifications

Students graduating from this program are eligible to receive the Nursery-Kindergarten Certificate from the Bureau of Private Academic Schools of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This certificate enables graduates to work in private preschools or kindergartens, Head Start, and child care programs. It also establishes eligibility in Pennsylvania’s lottery for loan forgiveness for teachers who work in childcare.

Students in this major are also eligible to work towards receiving the Family Life Educator Provisional Certificate awarded by the National Council of Family Relations. To qualify, students must take the following courses in addition to the regular CFS requirements: FCSE 350 Family Life Education, PSY 312 Adult Development and Aging, and HPED 450 Curriculum and Programming in Sexuality Education.

Student Association

The CDFR (Child Development and Family Relations) Council is an organization for students interested in furthering the well-being of children and their families. Most of its members are students majoring or minoring in Child Development and Family Relations.

CDFR Council sponsors guest speakers, holds fundraisers for children’s organizations, organizes field trips, and provides leadership and social opportunities for its members. Contact one of the CDFR Council advisors for more information: Dr. Fredalene Bowers or Dr. Marion Henry. Join us!

Faculty Accomplishments

Dr. Fredalene B. Bowers

  • Was awarded a Gate Opener grant for the Child and Family Studies Monroeville Program for the third year. The grant of $17,360 will assist nontraditional students, currently working in the field of child care and early childhood education, to complete their undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Relations.
  • Was one of several experts in the field featured on two DVD training videos available from ChildCare Exchange: VOICES Insights from the Field, Child Assessment and Supporting Teacher Performance.
  • Implementing a four-year CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School) grant to provide financial assistance and support services for child care to IUP undergraduate student-parents. Bowers received the grant award from the U.S. Department of Education, and Henry will coordinate the grant, which will aid in student retention. The project has been funded for $114,137 per year, and more than $450,000 in four years
  • Copresented with Marion Henry “The Things My Dad Never Told Me,” a focus on teen fathers at the Healthy Teen Network thirty-second annual conference, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 2011. Dr. Bowers also served on the program comittee for the national conference.
  • Copresented with Dr. Eun Jin Hwang “The Influence of IUP Students’ Involvement in Social Networks to Teaching and Learning,” Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees (PACT), IUP, October 2011.
  • Presented at the Student Assistance Program Training, “Two Modules; Adolescent Development and Effective Strategies for Working with Parents and Communication Skills,” sponsored by the Armstrong-Indiana Drug and Alcohol Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Education Student Assistance Program Training, Kittanning, Pa., October 2011.

Dr. Sarah L.H. Brown

  • Presented “What We Can Learn From a Box of Crayons” at the OCDEL conference in Penn State, in May 2011.
  • Presented “Positive Body Image” at the Pennsylvania Infants and Toddlers conference in Altoona, Pa., in July 2011.

Mrs. Marion Henry

  • Copresented with Dr. Bowers “The Things My Dad Never Told Me,” a focus on teen fathers at the Healthy Teen Network thirty-second annual conference, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 2011.
  • Copresented (with Dr. Bowers) “What’s Putting Our Children and Families at Risk?” at the Early Childhood Education Summit in State College, Pa., in October 2010.
  • Coordinating a four-year CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School) grant to provide financial assistance and support services for child care to IUP undergraduate student-parents. The project has been funded for $114,137 per year, and more than $450,000 in four years and will aid in student retention.
  • Human Development and Environmental Studies Department
  • Ackerman Hall, Room 207
    911 South Drive
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2336
  • Fax: 724-357-5941
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.