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Child and Family Development

Childhood Education and Family Studies  

For More Information

Childhood Education and Family Studies
Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-3262
Fax: 417-836-8900
Email: cefs@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

A Missouri State graduate of the Child and Family Development Program major leaves the university well equipped to work in the human services field. Courses emphasize development over the life span, interpersonal relationships and the practical application of human development theories to children, families and community. The primary focus is to prepare students to work with people — particularly children, youth and families in the areas of human service with a cross-disciplinary approach. 

Salaries for CFD graduates vary based upon level of position, previous experiences and geographic location. Metropolitan areas generally offer graduates more selection of positions. The Child and Family Development Program at Missouri State is multi-disciplinary. Students work with a faculty advisor to shape a plan of study around the class requirements that best reflect each student’s career goals and interests.

Career Opportunities

Child and Family Development students and graduates become involved in diverse areas. Following are some examples of careers for the Child and Family Development Program graduate.

Community Services and Programs: In many of these programs, the families are closely involved with their child and are learning parenting skills themselves. Careers include working directly with children, families or community child programs; working as coordinators in homeless shelters for child-family violence centers or residential treatment centers; working as case workers, managers, public relations communicators with organizations such as Big Brother/Big Sisters or Caring Communities; or working as parent educators with programs such as the Parenting Life Skills Center or Parents as Teachers. 

Advocacy: Advocates are individuals who speak up for the rights of children and families. Career titles include advocate at the Children's Trust Fund, child interviewer or executive director with the Child Advocacy Center, Family Violence Center or Children's House in Kansas City; victim advocate in prosecutor’s office; and court appointed special advocate.

Government Agencies: Agencies are involved in early care and education at the federal, state and local levels. Such agencies are responsible for administering programs that deal with child health, the regulation of child care facilities, school-based early childhood programs, child mental health and protective services. Positions include case workers for Division of Family Services or Juvenile Court, child development specialist in early childhood special education, early childhood education or early care and development programs, child care licensing in the Department of Health and Senior Services and military child care programs as a family or child care specialist.

Training and Education: Careers for training and education for professionals and paraprofessionals include working in programs such as Educare, Project Reach, Learning Connection and Child Care Resource and Referral.

Mental Health and Special Needs Populations: Employment opportunities in this area appear in the assessment of children and youth at risk for delinquency; play therapy with behavior disordered children; and programs such as Easter Seals, Children’s Miracle Network and Ronald McDonald House. Child Life Specialists work in hospital settings directly with the patient (child) by providing therapeutic activities for children confined to bed or in playrooms and providing supportive services to families.

Early Care and Education Professions: Working directly with children in full-day, part-day or early care and education programs or corporate child care programs may lead to staff or leadership positions. Those with experience and advanced education will find careers developing and implementing programs as Program Directors. Examples of organizations are Child Life/Hospital programs, Bright Horizons, Early Head Start and Head Start and school-based programs such as Prime Time, a before and after-school program.

Academic Program

Missouri State offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Child and Family Development. A minimum of 125 credit hours is required for the degree. Electives allow students to customize the academic program to their career interests. Emphasis areas of study include child life, child development, family life education and school age. Faculty work closely with students through advising to shape a plan of study to meet the students career goals. Examples of related programs available are psychology, sociology, early childhood education and recreation. With careful planning and advisement, the CFD major can develop a strong related minor to enhance marketable career skills.

Minors - A minor in Child and Family Development may be obtained as follows:

A. Select six hours from the following with approval of a CFD advisor: CFD 155(3), 160(3) or 163(3).

B. Select twelve hours from any CFD course with approval of a CFD advisor to bring total to at least 18 hours.


Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific course information.

CFD 150: Introduction to Child and Family Development

CFD 353: Childhood Illnesses, Injuries, Diseases and Disorders

CFD 354: Working With the Hospitalized Child

CFD 155: Human Development CFD 360: Planning and Implementing Curriculum in Child
                  Development Centers
CFD 160: Development in Early Childhood

CFD 361: Principles of Family Development

CFD 366: Preparation for the Professional Internship

CFD 163: Relationships in Today’s Family     CFD 454: Therapeutic Play Activities for Hospitalized Children
CFD 250: Parenting  CFD 455: Infants and Toddlers: Development and Program

CFD 463: Administration of Programs for Children and Families
CFD 257: Middle Childhood      

CFD 466: Internship in Programs for Children, Youth, Adults and                   Families

CFD 260: Supervised Experience in Child Development 

CFS 499: Practicum in Child and Family Development

CFD 500: Issues in Child and Family Development

CFD 301: Play as Development  CFD 532: Family Advocacy
CFD 304: Outdoor Play CFD 533: Principles of Family Life Education
CFD 305: Multicultural Studies in Child and Family CFD 560: Family Involvement
CFD 306: Separation and Loss CFD 562: Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
CFD 350: Seminar in Child and Family Development


Missouri State’s Child and Family Development Program faculty is comprised of individuals with diverse training backgrounds and extensive experiences in the field of human development. The common thread they share is their deep commitment to children and families and to the growth of communities.

The CFD program is taught by faculty members who have a variety of professional experience working with children and families. They bring to the classroom not only their degrees, but also their professional insights, practical approaches and enthusiasm. They are recognized leaders in the field.

Missouri State takes education beyond the classroom. Students get involved through practicum, field experiences, guest lecturers, tours and hands-on laboratory classes. All these educational experiences add up to a solid understanding of human growth and development that will prepare the Missouri State graduate for professional excellence.


In December 1999, the Infant-Toddler Development Laboratory and the Preschool Child Development Laboratory joined together under one roof to form the Child Development Center. The Center is an addition to the Professional Building and is part of the College of Education. The facility provides a state-of-the-art environment for teaching and learning among students who envision a better future for children, families and communities.


  • Scholarships available
  • Internships with potential employers
  • Professional organizations for students interested in young children
  • Special topics courses reflecting current issues/trends
  • Conscientious, career-oriented advisement  
  • Laboratory sites: Missouri State Child Development Center and University Child Care Center
  • Excellence recognized by Kappa Omicron Nu, national honorary society for Consumer and Family Sciences
  • Active Student Association for the Education of Young Children and Child Life Student Association


Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years; see sample graduation plans for this major.

This is only a sample schedule; your actual schedule may vary.