S17 EDUC 58080 Early Childhood: Family Centered Services

S17 EDUC 58080 Early Childhood: Family Centered Services

Distance Education
2 Credits / Graded A-F
Credit through Alaska Pacific University
Self-paced, start anytime

Course Description

Early Childhood: Family-Centered Services is a course that seeks to promote the development of thoughtful, knowledgeable, effective educators for a diverse society. The course provides conceptual frameworks for working with families of children from a variety of backgrounds.  Course content places an emphasis on family-centered practices designed to help early childhood professionals involve and support families in the care and education of children.

This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.

Family-Centered Services is a continuum of services that employ the family-centered practice approach to promote the primary goals of child welfare: safety, permanency, and well-being.  A family-centered practice approach is a way of organizing and delivering assistance and support to families based on interconnected beliefs and attitudes that shape the program philosophy and behavior of personnel as they organize and deliver services to children and families.

Family-centered service is an approach to service delivery that grew out of family preservation attempts in the mid-seventies to prevent out-of-home placements of minors. Since then, family-centered services has expanded from a particular type of service to an overall philosophy for the delivery of services to families.  FCS currently includes a wide range of programs from family support prevention services to family preservation, for families who are dealing with extremely difficult situations.  Family support is largely a preventative service that focuses on promoting healthy family relationships and child development.  A family support model may include programs such as peer support groups, Head Start, parent training, and home visitation. Family preservation, on the other hand, is more concerned with preventing family breakdown when serious problems arise by providing more intensive services that help families resolve specific issues (Fuller & Wells, 2000).

While there are several similar, yet differing, definitions of family-centered services that exist in fields such as social services, child welfare, mental health, and early childhood special education, there is consensus on the principles and values that characterize family-centered services.  Descriptors such as “strengths-based, consumer driven, family systems, partnerships, empowerment, enhancement, interdependence, proactive, and collaborative relationships” are all found in many of these definitions (Pletcher & McBride, 2003).

For the purpose of this class, we will use the terms Family-Centered Services and Family-Centered Practice interchangeably, to refer to a way of working with families across service systems to enhance their capacity to care for and protect their children, and strengthen their ability to manage their own lives.  Family-centered services focus on the needs and welfare of children within the context of their families and communities.  These services are accessible and individualized, and are available to families that may not initially seek services.

Family-centered service providers reach out to families, conveying the message that all families can benefit from support, and that families can learn from one another.

Family-centered practice recognizes the strengths of family relationships and builds on these strengths to achieve optimal outcomes.  Family is defined broadly to include birth, blended, kinship, and foster and adoptive families.  Family-centered practice includes a range of strategies, including advocating for improved conditions for families, supporting them, stabilizing those in crisis, reunifying those who are separated, building new families, and connecting families to the resources that will sustain them in the future.

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate: working knowledge of the major frameworks for understanding about family systems, transitions, and diversity; competence in communicating about the role of families in promoting optimal growth, development, and learning from pre-birth to age five; ability to seek out appropriate local, regional and national resources when working with families facing special challenges (e.g. children who have teenaged or divorced parents, are newly immigrated, have experienced abuse/neglect and/or poverty, or have special needs); skill in designing appropriate professional practices related to enhancing and assessing positive staff-parent communication and involvement.

VESi courses are now tablet compatible, making it easy for you to recertify anytime, anywhere with reliable, stable online access.


Contact Information

  • Phone: 907-364-3809
    Email: asdn@alaskaacsa.org

Payment Instructions

  • Tuition: 

    $305 for Tier One Member Districts *

    $355 for Tier Two Member Districts

    *Click here to see if your district is a Tier One or Tier Two member.

    You may pay by
    • VISA
    • MasterCard
    • American Express
    • Discover Card

    Course Completion Policy
    From the date of registration, registrants have a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year to complete the course.  Per Alaska Pacific University policy, grades will not be submitted before the 30 day minimum period.

    Cancellation Policy
    Any and all cancellations of ASDN Distance Education courses, within 30 days of registration, will result in a $90 cancellation fee. No refunds will be issued after 30 days.