The National Family Development Credential Program

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With the right resources and support, families and communities thrive. In response to providing family workers a training that will enable them to practice skills and competencies of strength based family support in order to help families thrive, the Family Development Credential program was created.

The National Family Development Credential Program (FDC) is a professional development course and credentialing program for frontline family workers. FDC trained staff help families capitalize on their strengths and set attainable goals. The first FDC credentials were issued by Cornell University’s School of Continuing Education in December 1997. Since then more than 12,000 family workers have earned the FDC through affiliated systems nationwide.

There are ten key Core Competencies of the FDC Course:

  • Family Development: A Sustainable Route to Healthy Self-Reliance
  • Communicating with Skill and Heart
  • Presence and Mindfulness: Cornerstones of Healthy Relationships
  • Taking Good Care of Yourself
  • Our Diverse World
  • Strength-Based Assessment
  • Helping Families Set and Reach Their Own Goals
  • Helping Families Access Specialized Services
  • Home Visiting
  • Collaboration and Community Support

The FDC program is transforming the way agencies work with families. During this intensive program, human service workers become more empowered themselves while simultaneously learning knowledge, skills, and values associated with key principles of empowerment practice.

Over the last several years, many Head Start/Early Head Start program staff have completed the FDC 90-hour course. Staff who work very closely with families play a critical role in developing and supporting the implementation of Head Start’s family partnership process. The skills obtained during the FDC course prepares staff to set boundaries with families and combat burnout; increase their feelings of confidence to do their job; provide positive social support among peers; and increase skills in communication with families, coworkers, supervisors, and their own family members.

We are excited to announce that in January 2020, nine Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start employees from Beaver and Fayette County successfully completed the program and received their Family Development Credential, awarded by the University of Connecticut.

Our staff members had to do the following to earn the Family Development Credential:

  • Complete 90 hours of intensive, interactive classroom instruction based on the Empowerment Skills for Family Workers curriculum. The classroom instruction was led by Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Managers, Wayne Schneider and Natalie Meade.
  • Prepare a skills portfolio that applies FDC concepts to their everyday work experience with support from their portfolio advisor.
  • Pass a state credential exam.

In review of the portfolios, Senior FDC Instructor Carol West, commended staff for the empathy they have for the families and their ability in developing respectful and trusting relationships with families. Staff were encouraged to continue practicing mindfulness and self-care especially when stress starts to build. This is just another way the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. goes above and beyond to ensure all programs are of the highest quality.

The National Family Development Credential was approved by the Office of Head Start for fulfillment of family services staff qualification requirements as outlined in the Head Start Program Performance Standards.

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