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


  Passion Purpose Growth Empowerment Impact

  These are the words that participants in the family development trainings sponsored by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) use to describe their experience in the FDC and FDC for Supervisors programs.

 DYCD was created in 1996 to provide the City of New York with high-quality youth and family programming. Our central task is administering available City, state, and federal funds to effective community-based organizations.  We invest in a network of community-based organizations and programs to alleviate the effects of poverty and to provide opportunities for New Yorkers and communities to flourish.

 For the past twenty years, DYCD in collaboration with the City University of New York and the National FDC Program has sponsored the Family Development trainings for frontline and supervisors representing nonprofit and community based organizations throughout the five boroughs.  We support this participation through competitive scholarships to selected applicants which cover the full cost of the training.  There is a network of approximately 3,000 credentialed workers in New York City and the numbers continue to grow.

 We are committed to the ongoing support of this valuable training and credentialing program which has enabled organizations to more effectively serve families and communities.
Meryl M. Jones
Assistant Commissioner
Capacity Building and Professional Development
Schenectady Community Action Program (SCAP) Inc.
Family Development Credential (FDC)
SCAP has been a supporter of FDC since FDC's inception 20 years ago. SCAP operates the Head Start program in Schenectady County New York. Our Family Workers and Home Visitors have attended the FDC course for many years. Ten years ago, we thought that it made sense to have all our direct service staff trained with FDC. It also made sense to provide FDC training to SCAP employees and other Schenectady professionals. Therefore we had a program director trained to become an FDC instructor for line staff and leaders. We have been providing FDC training ever since, and attend updates offered by National FDC at U Conn.

FDC has transformed SCAP's approach from the deficit method to the strength based model. We work with about 5,000 families a year, many with issues meeting their basic needs. This type of work tends to focus on the problem (what's going wrong) rather than the assets of the family that could be the answer to their needs. The idea of letting families set their own goals was not the way Crisis Counselors tend to work so was a very scary concept for most workers. Of course professionals always feel that they know the answers needed whether you're a plumber or a doctor. It has taken some time to make significant headway in this area but we have rounded the corner and now the agency culture has embraced FDC completely. In fact with our last agency strategic plan FDC became the center piece of our agency focus.

Directly from our Strategic Plan:
Before our agency-wide decision to apply the Family Development model to fully integrate SCAP, each department tended to work within its own silo, pursuing its own funding
sources, using the results of programs to justify its own funding source renewals, and
only occasionally seeking to refer the customer into the wider Agency system.
Emphasizing the Family Development Model as a complete Agency system requires inter-departmental referrals so became the engine of program integration.

The Executive Team realized that integration of services would become a key determinant of the long term success of the Agency. The Executive Team knew that each department provides excellent service to the customer, overseen by loyal and dedicated personnel. Even so, although the team has been talking about integration for some years there has been little progress on how to create a communication flow, a paperwork flow and an easy way for customers to understand and take advantage of the benefits of integrated services.

In place already at the Agency is the Family Development Model, with many staff having received partial FDC training. In considering a model of system-wide integration, he Executive Team quickly saw that the Family Development Model could be a framework for driving system integration throughout the Agency.

The key elements of the Family Development approach focuses on the customer defining their
life goals. Caseworkers help the customer understand options available to address issues, and define processes  the customer would have to engage. The customer defines the desired outcome(s), then SCAP works to help implement the customer- driven solution(s) within the programs offered, or available by referral. Often times this is the end of the process at the Agency. When the customer presents with a particular and defined issue, he/she is referred to the appropriate department. The caseworker in that department uses the FDC model to assist the customer to self-define the issue and identify the agreed upon remedy. Once implemented, the customer is often referred back through the Family Development Model to gain abilities at other skills that, ultimately, create self-reliance. These measurements of self-reliance include financial literacy, case conferencing, life skills, mental health, parenting, and employment/education.
Keith E Houghton
Senior Community Resource Navigator
Schenectady, New York

"I love facilitating the FDC process. It enables us to provide the best services for the people we love and care about and move towards breaking the cycle of dependency on government benefits in Indian country"
Kelly Bueno Gamboa

Employment Development Training Specialist
Washoe Tribe of NV & CA