About Us

Child & Family Studies


CFS is committed to improving the well-being of individuals, children, and families within communities across the country through promoting respect, inclusion, development, achievement, mental health, and an optimum quality of life.


  • Generate hope and solutions for the complex issues confronting individuals, children, families and communities through leadership in research and evaluation, theory, policy, and practice innovation.
  • Support the development of new knowledge and innovative practices through research.
  • Advance the effective application of the best available practices in communities and agencies through education, training, dissemination, consultation, evaluation, advocacy, and collaboration.
  • Demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of the cultural, economic, and social diversity of our society through the manner in which we conduct our work and the outcomes of that work.
  • Promote accountability and improvement of services through supporting and influencing local, state, and federal policy-making bodies, funding agencies, communities and neighborhoods, and other organizations that support individuals and families.


Values are those beliefs essential to reaching the vision, mission and the purpose of the mission. Our beliefs are demonstrated by the respectful and professional ways in which we conduct research, our efforts at teaching, training, and sharing information, and our partnerships with the individuals and families that we serve.


Child & Family Studies (CFS) is one of seven departments and schools within the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences (CBCS) at the University of South Florida (USF). CFS offers five academic programs: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health (CABH), Marriage and Family Therapy, Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (RMHC), and new in Fall 2022 Rehabilitation Counseling & Disability Sciences. Five graduate certificates are also offered. Three research divisions (profiled below) are involved in numerous training, technical assistance, and evaluation activities.

CFS efforts are consistent with the CBCS mission of combining knowledge gained through the behavioral sciences with knowledge gained from the community. CFS faculty, staff and students, who are well immersed in the local community as well as state and national efforts, are deeply connected to the college's focus of Creating Healthy Communities.

All activities within CFS are also aligned with USF strategic goals: having well-educated and highly skilled global citizens through a continuing commitment to student success; participating in high-impact research and innovation to change lives, improve health, and foster sustainable development and positive societal change; creating new partnerships to build a strong and sustainable future for Florida in the global economy; and establishing a strong and sustainable economic base in support of USF's continued academic advancement.

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  • Administration
    The Administration Core serves as the hub of support for the Department of Child & Family Studies and represents a collection of expertise to support projects, research, training and service activities for the department, the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences and the University of South Florida.

  • Child and Family Behavioral Health (CFBH)
    The Division of Child and Family Behavioral Health (CFBH) is composed of faculty and staff engaged in research and evaluation of children's behavioral health services as well as training, technical assistance, and knowledge sharing that supports, improves, and sustains programs and systems that serve children and their families. The division's mission is to promote the health and well-being of children and families while empowering them to positively impact their own lives. Major focus areas include evidence-based services, mental health disparities, school mental health, child welfare, transition age youth and young adults, and interagency collaboration and system development. Division goals include being responsive to the needs of states, communities, and public sector child-serving systems as well as developing collaborative, well-functioning systems of care for at-risk children and families. CFBH faculty have lead roles in CFS' MS in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health. The division is home to the peer-reviewed Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research.

  • Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC)
    Since 1963, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) have been working to accomplish a shared vision that foresees a nation in which all Americans, including Americans with disabilities, participate fully in their communities. Independence, productivity and community inclusion are key components of this vision. Funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, there are currently 67 UCEDDs. The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) at the University of South Florida was established in October 2005 through a UCEDD Education, Research, and Service grant award from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. Through leadership in research and evaluation, theory, policy, capacity building, and practice, the FCIC is committed to developing a range of supports and services in the areas of Community Supports, Early Childhood, Education, Employment, Health, and Interdisciplinary Training.

  • Rightpath Research & Innovation Center
    The Rightpath Center employs cutting edge research methods to develop, evaluate, and disseminate tools, strategies, and programs that elevate achievement of vulnerable children. The Center, with a focus on prevention, works to improve language, literacy and mathematics development in young children who are at risk of poor outcomes due to limited English language proficiency, low socioeconomic and ethnic minority backgrounds, or those who have communication, learning, behavioral or intellectual disabilities. Rightpath also provides specialized mentoring and training for graduate students so that a well-prepared next generation of innovative scholars will be readily available.

We believe that families and communities are the foundation for the well-being of their members and of society as a whole.