Center for the Study of
Culture, Health, and Human Development
at the
University of Connecticut


The National Family Development Credential has been approved by the Office of Head Start for fulfillment of requirements under Section 1302.91(e)(7) of the Head Start Performance Standards, Staff Qualifications and Competency.

Welcome to the web site of the official National Family Development Credential Program!

The FDC program collaborates with agencies to teach family workers how to coach families to set and reach their goals for healthy self-reliance. Initially based on Cornell University research, the interagency FDC program works is in many states throughout the nation, teaching and credentialing frontline workers from public, private and non-profit service systems (e.g., home visitors, case managers, family resource center workers, community health workers).

The Family Development Credential emerged in 1994 from a research-policy collaborative between the Cornell University College of Human Ecology's Department of Human Development, New York State's Council on Children and Families, New York State Department of State, and the New York City Dept. of Youth and Community Development, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The initiative was directed by Dr. Claire Forest.

In 2010, Dr. Forest, who remians Director, moved the Family Development Credential Programto the University of Connecticut. The official FDC credential is issued jointly by the Center for Culture, Health & Human Development and the Center for Environmental Health & Health Promotion.

To earn the FDC, front-line workers take 90 hours of classes based on Empowerment Skills for Family Workers (3rd edition, Forest 2015), complete a portfolio documenting their ability to apply these concepts and skills, and pass a standardized exam. Since the first FDC credentials were issued by Cornell's School of Continuing Education in 1997, more than 7,000 front-line workers in New York State have earned the FDC and thousands more have earned it through affiliated systems in 26 other states.

In 2012, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded Dr. Claire Forest exclusive use of the terms "Family Development Credential" and "FDC", to prevent unauthorized imitations. Feel free to check with us regarding the status of programs that use these terms. Your workers deserve the official FDC Program!

In 2017, soon after Head Start released their new performance standards for staff in 2016, Office or Head Start approved UConn's Family Development Credential to meet this requirement. We are pleased to work closely with National Head Start Programs to help them acheive their staff qualifications.

As the FDC Program expands training, credentialing and research, we look forward to working with continuing and new FDC state programs and other partners. When families and communities face profound challenges, the FDC Program's highly skilled workers and leaders are ready to help. Please contact us with your ideas and questions.                                                                                                             

Click here to learn more about how to earn a Family Development Credential.
Click here for frequently asked Q & A about FDC.