Frequently Asked Questions: Certificate Program

How long does it take to complete the program?

Since the program can be completed by individual participants at times that are convenient for them, the time it takes to complete the program can vary.  Our experience tells us that a participant who commits 5 hours a week over a 10-week period can complete all 10 of the program modules and add significant knowledge and skills to their partnerships with families.  A shorter or longer time for program completion can also be tailored to the needs of a particular participant.

How does someone participate in the program?

Program participants attend three video conference calls during the program, two of which are scheduled with the entire cohort completing the program and one that is scheduled individually with a participant to complete a case discussion, analysis of professional growth and exit interview.  Group video conferences are scheduled at 3 PM, in the mountain time zone, which has thus far worked for participants from Hawaii to New Jersey.

The rest of the program consists of:

  • initial and end of program self-assessments using the Head Start Relationship Based Competencies;
  • participant identification of an Accountability Partner to both support and challenge them throughout the Certificate Program;
  • a series of 10 modules that closely follow Head Start’s Relationship-Based Competencies;
  • online assignments that include correspondence with other program participants as well as dialogue with the accountability partner;
  • development of a Professional Partner Portfolio that is both a testament to each participant’s accomplishment as well as a resource for partnerships with families; and
  • resources from experts, researchers and families that are immediately relevant to current practitioners!

What are the modules in the program?

  1. Self-Assessment and Accountability Partner;
  2. Self-Care and Self-Awareness;
  3. Self-Aware and Culturally Responsive Relationships;
  4. Positive, Goal-Oriented Relationships;
  5. Parent-Child Interactions;
  6. Family Well-Being;
  7. Family Connections to Peers and Access to Community;
  8. Coordinated, Integrated and Comprehensive Services;
  9. Data-Driven and Continuous Improvement; and
  10. Foundations for Professional Growth.

What do I get from this program?

Participants engage in an educational program that has been developed with input from families, experts and researchers.  However, the curriculum allows for individual flexibility so participants can tailor their experience in the program to issues affecting their families and communities as well as their own interests and needs as a family partner.  Of course, participants who complete the program receive a certificate, but, perhaps even more valuable, is the portfolio participants develop during the program.  The portfolio consists of self-assessments, self-care plans, cultural competence exercises, a letter to families, a community resource list, Head Start resources, a collection of family partnership plans and a professional development plan.

We also want our Professional Partners to recognize families who reach a family goal with the Child and Family Partner Parent Certificate!  Child and Family Partners understands that the true value of the Certificate Program is how it impacts families, and reaching a goal deserves recognition and celebration.

Clearly, Professional Partners who complete the program leave with more than a certificate.  They move forward with the knowledge, skills and a process for understanding, engaging and celebrating families in their future partnerships.

What makes this program different?

There are a few obvious differences between the Child and Family Partners Certificate Program and other programs.  Few, if any, offer the combination of online modules with video conferences to ensure connections between participants from across the country as well as the flexibility to complete assignments at a time and place convenient for participants.

This program is also an eclectic mix information from a variety of sources including the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, Zero to Three and experts currently working in partnerships with families.

Additionally, the Child and Family Partners Certificate Program keeps cohorts to a manageable size, usually no more than 30 at a time, to ensure each participant receives individualized attention from program staff.

Finally, the logic model for the Child and Family Partners Certificate Program is based on an understanding of the links between social isolation, addiction, poverty and mental health issues.  Families often struggle to develop or maintain the support system necessary to address their needs and may be left with intermittent, temporary fixes to challenges that have taken root across months, years and, in some cases, generations of the family.

How much does the program cost?

The cost for the Child and Family Partners Certificate Program is $650.  There are no additional fees for books, certification, review, testing, travel, course fees or speaker fees.

Is there a re-certification process?

No.  Once a participant completes all assignments in the program at a satisfactory level, they will receive the certificate.  Ongoing professional development is offered from Child and Family Partners for free or at a discount for former program participants.

Who should complete the Child and Family Partner Certificate Program?

Any Head Start or Early Head Start staff member who works with families on the family partnership process should register for the program.  The program was designed to meet the Head Start Personnel Standard, 1302.91(e)(7), which states:

A program must ensure staff who work directly with families on the family partnerships process hired after November 7, 2016, have within eighteen months of hire, at a minimum, a credential or certification in Social Work, human services, family services.

Child and Family Partners recommends that any program participant have at least 6 months of experience with families prior to participating in the program.  First, the role of the professional partner is not for everyone.  Every person partnering with families should understand the commitment it takes to honor and embrace families from a wide variety of cultures, backgrounds and situations.  Next, each program participant is an investment for their employing agency.   As programs continually try to do more with less, every investment must be carefully considered.  The Child and Family Partners Certificate Program is acutely aware of the consideration it takes to invest in staff members and honors that consideration with high expectations for both the program and its participants.

What if I get into the program and don’t like it?

Child and Family Partners provides this guarantee to program participants and agency administrators:

If you feel the program is insufficient in any way, we will make it right.  We will do what is necessary to provide the training, information or support necessary or you will get a full refund.  

How does the program accommodate different learning styles or languages?

Due to the online modules the program can be a lot of reading.  To accommodate different learning styles and support individuals with limited vision or problems reading, many of the modules incorporate audio and video in addition to written publications.  Additionally, technical support is offered to help participants utilize screen readers or even speech to text applications that can enhance participation.

To accommodate different languages, the Child and Family Partners Certificate Program offers most modules with both English and Spanish publications while also employing staff members who are fluent in Spanish.  When possible, links are provided to publications in other languages and technical assistance is offered for translation.

Are there college credits available for the course?

No.  The course does not currently have a connection to an institute of higher learning.  Other types of professional development or training credit may be available on a case-by-case basis.  Let us know if there is a certain type of credit you are seeking, and we will see what we can do.