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Child and Family Studies

Major Details

The Child and Family Studies major represents an integration of theory, research, and practice from multiple disciplines, and it is a unique blend of liberal arts and professional education. CFS graduates may begin careers as early childhood educators, social service agency administrators, parent educators, family advocates, youth workers, social services caseworkers, early intervention/special education assistants, and services providers for community agencies serving children, youth, and families.  The major also provides a foundation of course work for students who intend to pursue graduate work in education, counseling, social work, public  administration, juvenile justice, conflict resolution, or other related disciplines. 

For additional information see the Major Requirements page or the Major Admissions page.

Learning Outcomes

Preamble: Child and Family Studies students will be able to access, analyze, apply, and articulate theoretical knowledge to make professional decisions that improve the lives of children, youth, and families as they:

  1. Describe the development, roles, and interaction patterns of children, youth, and families within their social systems;
  2. Identify dimensions of diversity in children, youth, and families and recognize oppressive forces that hinder their positive development; 
  3. Demonstrate professional standards of ethical conduct; and 
  4. Assume the role of change agents regarding issues, policies, & community needs that affect children, youth, and their families.



  • Early Childhood Education

  • Elementary Education

  • Special Education for School Aged Children

  • Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education

  • Family Life Educator

  • Youth Worker

  • Child Welfare/Human Services

  • Administration of Programs

  • International Worker

  • Human Development/Child Life

  • Families in Society

Program strengths include interdisciplinary seminars and extensive community-based practicum experiences.  Students are commonly involved in practicum opportunities such as assisting with an infant/toddler classroom in a corporate-affiliated child care center, teaching parenting and other life skills to teen moms in a high school program, providing tutoring in a third grade classroom, doing outreach to street youth for a community organization, working in a library as a literacy mentor to child care providers, helping severely disabled children in hospital setting, and many more community situations.  Students have ample opportunity to explore and pursue varied career options. 


Visit the Events Calendar for upcoming CFS Info Session dates and times. Please RSVP for the session you which to attend.



Ben Anderson-Nathe, CFS Program Director (503) 725-2594
Melissa Penners, CFS/BSW Program Assistant (503) 725-8241
Kate Constable, SSW Undergraduate Advisor (503) 725-5925
Jennifer Robe, SSW Undergraduate Advisor (503) 725-8961