About Us

Child & Family Studies


Child and Family Studies is committed to improving the well-being of individuals, children, and families within communities across the country through promoting respect, inclusion, development, achievement, mental and behavioral 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.
  • Promote successful, well-educated, highly skilled, and adaptable graduates who contribute to the well-being of individuals, children, and families, and are engaged citizens in a democratic society, functioning in local and global communities.
  • Support faculty and student excellence conducting high-impact research and developing new knowledge and innovative practices to create positive global impact in the lives of individuals, children, and families.
  • Advance the effective application of the best available practices in communities and agencies through partnership and engagement including education, training, dissemination, consultation, evaluation, advocacy, and collaboration.
  • Develop a diverse and inclusive community through demonstrating a sensitivity to and
    understanding of the cultural, economic, and social diversity of our society through the way we conduct our work and the outcomes of that work.
  • Engage in visionary planning and sound stewardship to ensure a strong and sustainable financial base that will allow us to continue our activities, improve services, and influence policy-making bodies, funding agencies, communities, and other organizations that support individuals and families while adapting to emerging opportunities.


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.

We believe that:

a. Families and communities are the foundation for the well-being of their members and of society.

Within the CFS work environment –

b. Our mission can best be accomplished in a professional and supportive environment that: (a) relies on the contribution of every member of the department and (b) values the diversity of individuals in the department and multi-disciplinary approaches that result from their collaboration.

c. We should pursue the active participation of stakeholders in the development of research, programs, policy, and the delivery of services.

d. We should be accountable for our work and believe that it should result in outcomes that are valued by our stakeholders.

Regarding CFS activities –

e. Services should have empirical support, represent community collaboration, and be delivered in the most natural environment possible.

f. All services and supports should be provided in an individualized and inclusive manner that is sensitive to the diversity of developmental, social, economic, cultural, and familial circumstances.

All activities of the department will be conducted in accordance with anti-discrimination laws and university policies. In accordance with the departmental values as articulated in this document, the department will actively and intentionally promote in the departmental work environment and in all work, activities respect for human dignity, equal opportunity for all persons, and sensitivity to the diversity of individuals.


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 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 aligned with USF strategic goals.

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View CFS Organizational ChartView CFS Organization Model

  • 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.