Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Advocacy

The Advanced Graduate Certificate in Child and Family Advocacy will provide students with the opportunity to develop skills to better advocate for the families, children and communities they serve. Students will acquire greater knowledge of the regulatory environment and processes (both governmental and private) in the areas in which they work and will be better able to network within those environments. More specifically, students in this certificate should gain analytical skills regarding community and institutional organizations, historical and cultural differences in human development and of power relations and justice. They should be able to apply these skills in a “service learning” environment, in addition to demonstrating critical thinking and graduate-level writing skills in the online-classroom environment.

Program Design

Courses are taught online and students may begin the certificate program in the fall, spring or summer terms.

Required Courses and Suggested Sequence

Human Service Policy (3 credits)

In this course, students will examine how social policy influences, and is influenced by, how human service functions, service populations, outcomes and resources are publicly and privately defined, identified, secured and measured. Students will examine the interactional effects of social policy and human services at organizational and professional levels. By semester's end, students should be capable of effectively analyzing or deconstructing any human services agency or concept in current social policy.

Family Policy (3 credits)

Students examine the institution of the family through the lens of cultural values and as an area for policy decisions. Topics raised in the course consider how the family unit has evolved over time, the cultural values that shape not only how family is viewed, but also how that view shapes policy decisions that affect the family and the impact that these policy decisions have upon both families and the larger society.

Advocacy for Children (3 credits)

Over time, children have gained many legal rights in this country. This study will introduce the student to an overview of these various rights and of the many legal, sociological, psychological and political issues involved in their development. In addition to an overview of these fundamentals legal rights, students will become familiarized with the basics of the court system and the statutes and judicial decisions affecting children’s rights today. Some specific topics to be explored in this study are neglect and abuse of children; the legal, ethical and sociological effects of prenatal maternal substance abuse; and children’s right to the effective assistance of counsel.

Current Social Issues in Child Advocacy (Capstone) (3 credits)

The capstone is designed to be modified in content depending on current legislative activity, social issues and agendas. The study will be likely to present issues including defining criminal responsibility by age, as well as mental health issues of youth, particularly in supervised care.

Admission and Advisement

Admission to the certificate program requires the applicant to submit an official transcript of his or her bachelor’s degree, along with a complete application. Advising will be provided by the certificate program coordinator, Dr. Peggy Tally.

While the 12 credits of this certificate may be transferred into the M.A. in social and public policy, acceptance will require candidates to apply to the master’s degree program and complete the full admission process. Completion of the graduate certificate does not guarantee admission to the master’s program.

Advanced certificates may be incorporated into a related master's degree for those meeting the program admission requirements.

Apply online or request information for more details on the Certificate in Child and Family Advocacy.

Tuition and Fees

Students completing this certificate pay the following tuition and fees:

Federal financial aid is not available unless concurrently matriculated in a master’s degree program.


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