Designed to work with a wide spectrum of the human family, Child and Family Studies majors evidence a genuine concern for and interest in the welfare of children, families, and the general well-being of others. It is critical for students of Child and Family Studies to serve as willing advocates for changes in political and other systems and set aside prejudices in order to view each individual as a person of worth. As professionals, we believe in the ability of persons to change and grow and to assist persons within ethical guidelines.
The program is designed around the life lab concept emphasizing a partnership between academics and out of classroom placements. Core courses are designed to provide students with hands-on experiences through service-learning placements such as: Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services, the Benefit Bank, The Sickle Cell Association, YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, The Nurturing Center, Co-operative Ministries, Camp Rise Above, EdVenture Children’s Museum, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Children’s Garden, Ronald McDonald House, and Richland County First Steps.
Students are required to enroll in a semester practicum during the second year in order to understand the possibilities and complexities of their vocational choice. In the senior year, students are required to enroll in a second practicum in order to gain professional experience, network in their area of specialty, and bridge academics and practice.
This emphasis provides students with the capacity to work with families throughout the entire life span from early interventionist positions to work with senior centers and end of life care. It also provides a sound foundation for graduate work in family therapy, family ministry, child life specialist (medical placements), or family health care. Emphasis on family dynamics prepares students for a number of professional options such as:
- Family Service Coordinator
- Parent Educator
- Early Interventionist
- School/Home Liaison
- Early Care/Elder Care
- Nonprofit services for children and families
- Graduate study in law, health care, therapy, ministry, child life, etc
Family Law and Social Advocacy:
This specialized track was developed to provide students with the foundation needed to be successful working with families and children in a legal setting. In addition to the standard CFS curriculum, students are required to take courses with the social work and political science departments to increase familiarity with laws and legal process regarding vulnerable populations. Many classes are held in partnership with the South Carolina Statehouse, including an opportunity to train as guardian ad litem for course credit. Upon completion of this degree students are uniquely qualified for a variety of professional options including positions with:
- Department of Juvenile Justice
- South Carolina State Department of Social Services
- Richland County Department of Social Services
- Richland County Guardian Ad Litem/Victims’ Advocates
- Graduate study in law or social work