What is Child Development and Family Studies?

The Child Development and Family Studies major offers an interdisciplinary degree through the School Of Human Services and Education. This program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skillset to become practitioners in the area of children as well as examining how families function systemically.

The child development component of our program is distinctive in that it emphasizes the development of young children (0-8 years). Our program also highlights' human development across the lifespan which includes the cognitive, emotional, physical, and social domains from the prenatal period through older adulthood.

The family studies component offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the systems’ approach and well-being of the family by addressing challenges over the lifespan. Some of the challenges include but are not limited to relations with the family and family interactions with community institutions. Throughout this program, students are encouraged to integrate research, theory, and practice.

Why study at UNT Dallas?

UNT Dallas serves as a catalyst for students who desire the opportunity to experience multiple modalities of learning experiences within diverse sectors of social service. Students are exposed to the work culture during their course work through internship, practicum and service learning opportunities. Additionally, students observe children and families in their natural settings as well as participate in community projects and engage with community leaders. These experiences allow students to connect course and program content with future employment.

How likely am I to get a job after graduation?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) projects a 25 percent growth from 2010 to 2020 in the employment of child care providers due to a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education and the growing population of children between the ages of 3 and 5. By 2018, the need for child daycare is expected to grow by 15 percent. Childcare Center Directors and other child development specialists will also be in great demand.  Growth will continue to be driven by an increasing emphasis on early child education placed by the federal government and the need for family life advocates within early childhood programs.

What are my career options?

  • Child Care Director
  • Family Childcare Manager
  • Early Childhood Mentor
  • Home-Based Programs Manager
  • Education Program Coordinator
  • Humanitarian Services
  • Administration
  • Curriculum Development
  • Family Life Educator

What Kinds of companies or industries are hiring?

The nonprofit industry is varied and extends across numerous employment categories like:

  • Private, public, franchise and corporate day care centers
  • Pre-schools
  • Faith Based Institutions
  • Extended School Programs
  • Community Outreach
  • Family Day Care
  • Child Advocacy Programs
  • Federal, state, and local government

Students can work for companies like:

  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • The Child Care Group
  • The United Way
  • The Children’s Courtyard
  • Bright Horizons
  • Safe Haven
  • United Health Group
  • Momentous Institute

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact Information: Dr. Nedra Y. Washington, Program Coordinator, 972-338-1393

Success Strategies

  • Stay in good academic standing—excellent attendance, turn assignments in on-time, test preparation, participate in study groups
  • Participate in service learning and student organizations
  • Work or volunteer with children and families
  • Get certifications such as Child Development Associate or Trainer for Texas educational development system or  child life specialist

Online Resources

Bright Futures http://brightfutures.aap.org/Family_Resources.html
Bright Futures materials for families are available on a wide range of mental, physical, and emotional health issues for children from the prenatal months through age 21.

CDC’s "Learn the Signs. Act Early." Campaign http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/index.html
The campaign aims to educate parents about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders, and encourages developmental screening and intervention.

Family Voices http://www.familyvoices.org/
Family Voices provides information and education about the health care of children with spec ial health needs. The website includes links to resources and information on advocacy.

KidsHealth® http://kidshealth.org/
KidsHealth provides families with up-to-date health information, with separate areas for kids, teens, and parents.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) http://www.naeyc.org/
The nation's largest and most influential organization of early childhood educators and others dedicated to improving the quality of programs for children from birth through third grade. The site can locate accredited programs by zip code.

National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) http://www.parentcenterhub.org/nichcy-gone/
Find information to help support you in caring for your child with a disability, or helping children with disabilities achieve their full potential.

Parent to Parent-USA http://www.p2pusa.org/p2pusa/sitepages/p2p-home.aspx
Parent to Parent programs provide emotional and informational support to families of children who have special needs most notably by matching parents seeking support with an experienced, trained 'Support Parent'.

The Whole Child http://www.cdc.gov/Other/disclaimer.html
The Whole Child provides child development resources for parents and educators including articles, videos, and age appropriate activities.

Zero to Three http://www.zerotothree.org/
Science-based information and tools designed to help parents and caregivers nurture their young children’s development. For additional information on family health, research, educators, protective services, and federal partners click on the links below


Professional Resources

The National Association for Child Development
National Association for the Education of Young Children  
Council for Professional Recognition ... 
National Black Child Development Institute 
Southern Early Childhood Association | SECA 
Association for Childhood Education International
Association for Early Learning Leaders 
Zero To Three:
American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences 
National Extension Association of Family & Consumer Sciences 
National Council on Family Relations 
Family Science Association