Welcome to Early Childhood: Family-Centered Services, 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.
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.
There are no prerequisites.
As a student you will be expected to:
- Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.
- Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented. You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
- Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.
- Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.
- Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.
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For Additional Information Visit: https://www.virtualeduc.com/html_syllabus/FCS/FCS_UP3_syllabus.htm