Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

First Recipients of Family Development Credential to Help Families Achieve Self-Sufficiency

Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

First Recipients of Family Development Credential to Help Families Achieve Self-Sufficiency

Article excerpt

The payoff has begun: In February some of the first recipients of the Family Development Credential (FDC), developed at Cornell University and based on research at Cornell over the past 20 years, were recognized in a ceremony in Albany.

The FDC is earned in a training program that enables paraprofessionals from a wide range of agencies to help families solve problems and achieve long-lasting self-reliance. To date, 350 workers have received the credential.

The FDC helps the state reorient its health, education, and human service systems by providing families with support and teaching them self-reliance, instead of agencies focusing on "rescuing or fixing" families in trouble. The training was developed in collaboration with the New York State Community Action Network, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and 15 state agencies that deal with families. The training and credentialing program is available in 35 locations throughout the state and serves as a model for several other states.

"The family development approach allows families to reclaim their dreams for healthy self-reliance within their communities and then set and reach their own goals," explains Christiann Dean, a senior extension associate in the Department of Human Development and director of the Cornell Empowering Families Project, which oversees the training and credentialing of participants. "It gives families, not agency workers, the primary responsibility for setting goals and finding ways to reach those goals. …

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