Children's Mental Health


USF's Department of Child and Family Studies offers the Graduate Certificate in Children's Mental Health, with an emphasis in Systems of Care. This is an interdisciplinary program delivered through distance learning technologies. It is designed to provide a rigorous, empirically-based education to individuals in the behavioral health services field who wish to work with agencies and systems that serve children and families who have mental health needs. Students will learn to assist children at different developmental stages, within the contexts in which they live. Since background checks are the norm in the behavioral health field, students completing this graduate certificate may be required to submit to a background check before entering the workforce. In addition, courses including an internship may require a background check.

Course Location/Delivery

All courses are offered online.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in a field related to human services with a minimum 3.0 GPA, or be currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at a regionally accredited institution in a related field.

Application Process

To learn about the application process, and to access the application, please review our application process.


Two of the three required courses must be completed before enrollment in the electives.


15 credit hours. The student must earn a "B" or better in each course for it to be applied toward the certificate. There are 9 credit hours of required course work:

  • MHS 6069 - Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health (3)
  • MHS 6095 - Family-Centered Interdisciplinary Practice: Systems of Care (3)
  • PHC 6534/MHS 6900 - Cultural Competency in Children's Mental Health* (3)


There are 6 credit hours of elective course work:

  • MHS 6640 - Mental Health Informatics (3)
  • MHS 7740 - Survey in Mental Health Planning, Evaluation, and Accountability* (3)
  • MHS 6610 - Financing of Children's Mental Health Services (3)
  • MHS 6098 - Leadership Within Systems of Care (3)
  • MHS 6631 - Program Development & Implementation in Children's Mental Health (3)
  • MHS 6072 - Epidemiology and Prevention in Children's Mental Health (3)
  • MHS 6073 - Child and Adolescent Psychopathology & Resilience (3)
  • MHS 6900 - Special Topics in Planning Evaluation and Accountability (3)
  • MHS 6508 - Wraparound Interventions and the System of Care (3)
  • MHS 6900 - Independent Studies in Mental Health Studies (3)

Time Limit for Completion of Certificate

Per University Policy, all Certificates have a five year time limit; however, the approximate time to complete the Certificate is three years.

Credit toward Graduate Degree

Up to 12 hours of certificate course credits may be applied to a graduate degree with departmental approval.

Standardized Tests

International students must submit a TOEFL score when English is not the native language. A minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test or 79 on the web-based test is required.


Carol MacKinnon-Lewis
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