In 2004, the Healthy Families/Thriving Communities Collaborative Council’s (Council), Executive Director and other key staff attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York for the Family Development Credentialing (FDC) training at which time they became certified FDC Instructors.
An agreement between the Council and Cornell University was made in 2004 designating the Council as the sole certified provider and coordinator of the FDC program in the District of Columbia. In 2011, our role was expanded to include the State of Maryland. In 2010, the FDC Program was moved to the University of Connecticut. Since 2005, the Council has credentialed over 180 workers thru the citywide Collaboratives, DCPS Head Start Program, CFSA Social Service Assistants, Charles County Department of Social Services and E.C. Mazique Parent Child Center.
FDC is offered in the spring and fall, mid-March and-October each year and as requested.
Family Development Credential History:
The Family Development Training and Credentialing (FDC) Program is a training program for frontline workers designed to reorient human service practice to the family support approach. It offers a research-based comprehensive curriculum in family support principals, which significantly improves the ability of frontline workers to help the families and individuals they work with to set and reach their own goals. FDC emerged in the mid-1990s from research-policy collaboration between the Department of Human Development from Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, and the Work Group on Family Support created by New York State’s Council on Children and Families (CCF). The representatives decided to develop this training for frontline workers to enhance their work with families. Later, this specialized training was expanded to agency supervisors in order to support frontline workers in their work with families.
In FDC, the following family development skills and competencies are reviewed and studied:
- Family Development: A Sustainable Route To Healthy Self- Reliance
- Communicating with Skill and Heart
- Taking Good Care of Yourself
- Strengths-based Assessment
- Helping Families Set and Reach Goals
- Helping Families Access Specialized Services
- Home Visiting
- Facilitating Family Conferences, Support Groups, Community Meetings
This curriculum teaches workers the family development process; which begins first and foremost with the family worker developing a respectful partnership. This process strengthens families, empowering them to be more self-reliant and thus better able to handle future challenges.
Participants receive 90 hours of classroom instruction provided over 14 weeks. Technical assistance is provided to students through a trained portfolio advisor who guides the student through the FDC process and portfolio development. Each student develops a portfolio that applies FDC concepts to their everyday work experience. After successful completion of classroom instruction, portfolio development, and passing a standardized exam, workers receive their credentialing.
Who can benefit from the Family Development Credentialing Program?
The interagency credentialing program is offered two times a year to workers from a wide range of government, private, non-profit and educational agencies and institutions such as: social workers, family support staff, home visitors, social welfare and community actions workers, nurses, probations officers, teachers, child care workers, police officers, , and program volunteers. Specifically, agencies who have participated in this training include: Child and Family Services Agency, Head Start, and United Planning Organization.
A focus group of FDC participants was conducted and the results revealed a change in several areas of personal and professional lives. The themes that emerged from the focus group were:
- Increased feelings of efficacy and confidence in ability to do their job
- Change in interactions with clients
- Increased skill in communicating with clients
- Increased skill in setting boundaries
- Acquired new strategies to take care of themselves; avoid burnout
- Increased skill in effectively communicating with supervisor/coworkers
- Personal growth and changes in interactions in their personal lives
Family Development Leadership Course
In addition to the 90-hour course, there are opportunities for agency supervisors to participate in the FDC leadership course which is a 30-hour community-based series and credentialing program. This course is ideal for supervisors interested in using principles and practices of family development within their agencies. In addition, this course will add a significant benefit to guiding and supporting frontline workers during supervision. The program has been approved for and offers 24 CEUs from the National Association of Social Workers.