Online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services

Connections form the core of the family unit — the loving marital relationship between spouses, the nurturing bond among parents and children, and the family’s functioning within the broader community. Yet, multiple forces can disrupt these bonds, altering the family dynamic and how all individuals relate to and support each other. If you seek to help families and their children succeed and thrive through life’s challenges, discover how you can make a difference with Abilene Christian University’s online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services.

An interdisciplinary structure transforms you into an engaging, caring and spiritually grounded community-based educator and steward — whether for a career in a non-clinical role following your undergraduate degree or to pursue graduate-level studies and certification. Coursework rooted in psychology and sociology principles supplies you with the tools to foster positive family relationships, improve adults’ and children’s resiliency in the face of various hurdles, encourage meaningful communication among all parties and uplift culturally and socioeconomically diverse populations. At the same time, you’ll have the chance to apply your knowledge and begin to exert your constructive influence through required clinical experiences.

Connections form the core of the family unit — the loving marital relationship between spouses, the nurturing bond among parents and children, and the family’s functioning within the broader community. Yet, multiple forces can disrupt these bonds, altering the family dynamic and how all individuals relate to and support each other. If you seek to help families and their children succeed and thrive through life’s challenges, discover how you can make a difference with Abilene Christian University’s online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services.

An interdisciplinary structure transforms you into an engaging, caring and spiritually grounded community-based educator and steward — whether for a career in a non-clinical role following your undergraduate degree or to pursue graduate-level studies and certification. Coursework rooted in psychology and sociology principles supplies you with the tools to foster positive family relationships, improve adults’ and children’s resiliency in the face of various hurdles, encourage meaningful communication among all parties and uplift culturally and socioeconomically diverse populations. At the same time, you’ll have the chance to apply your knowledge and begin to exert your constructive influence through required clinical experiences.

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Uncover Your Vocation

Acquire the tools to help families endure the storm of daily life, empower each other, and support their children’s development. Deepen your conviction in your faith and serving others through ACU’s online Bachelor’s in Child and Family Services with the guidance of our vibrant, virtual, Christ-centered community.

Locked-In Tuition

Introducing
Locked-In Tuition.

Our Locked-In Tuition program guarantees you’ll pay the same price for your entire undergraduate degree.

About the Program

Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services

ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services focuses on learning about optimal human development and relationships from infancy through adulthood, with the purpose of addressing the evolving definition of family. Through this degree, you will train to strengthen the lives of children, adults and families by promoting emotional well-being and formulate, evaluate and implement life education plans based on research and theory.

Program Structure

All the Details on Your Degree

A Christian perspective shapes a degree program designed to help you pursue a career assisting families and children in multiple contexts — from healthcare to therapeutic and social services fields. Glean insights from current research and theory to reinforce bonds within the family unit to not only help all individuals overcome obstacles but to have them go forth and benefit their communities. Along with fully online coursework, you’ll complete a required number of practicum hours and can specialize your degree with a choice of concentrations. 

Required Hours

Total: 120 hours
University Requirements: 56 hours
Major: 64 hours (up to 19 hours in electives)

Example Coursework

Family Theories: An Introduction
Parenting and Family Skills
Family Communication
Family Crises and Resiliency

Upcoming Start Dates

June 28, 2022
August 23, 2022

Common Job Titles

Adoption Counselor
Childcare Director
Youth Services Coordinator
Group Home Worker
Family Resource Coordinator
Marriage and Family Therapist (Master’s degree required)

Concentrations

All students enrolled in the online Bachelor’s in Child Life and Family Services program progress through a 45 credit-hour core. You’ll then customize your degree with a choice of electives or concentrate your studies toward a career as a child life specialist. 

Core courses refine what you know about family dynamics. You’ll expand your mindset about adolescent attitudes and dynamics, family communication and interpersonal relationships. Beyond these big-picture concepts, coursework delves into the role finances play in relation to time and resources, how relationships are formed, developmentally appropriate care from infancy through the teen years and tools for building resiliency. In the process, you’ll start to think about intimacy and human sexuality, marital relationships, societal trends in family relationships and know how to conduct and analyze human development and family studies research. 

Along with a required number of hours interacting with infant, child and adolescent populations, a supervised experience consisting of 120 clock hours places you in a community-based family life education or service program to help you practice what you’ve absorbed thus far.

You’ll then select one of the following concentrations:

 

Child and Family Services

Child Life

Start your journey toward certification as a child life specialist. Discover strategies for helping children and families overcome challenging and traumatic events, and learn to conduct evidence-based, psychologically appropriate interventions. To serve children from infancy through adolescence, coursework offers insight into therapeutic play tactics for coping with stressful situations, managing pain, and overcoming fear and anxiety.

 

 

 

 

Child and Family Services

General

Get broad, multifaceted exposure to the discipline of child and family services, and prepare to pursue a variety of careers serving children and families, including in social services and nonprofits. You will be exposed to current research and theory about families and become well-versed in developmental theory about individuals and the family unit across the lifespan. Consider where you see yourself long term: this concentration equips you with the knowledge to enter a graduate program in professional healthcare, counseling or higher education.

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Sara Salkil, Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil, Certificate in Medical Family Therapy

Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil is the program director of the online Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Certificate in Medical Family Therapy programs. She is independently licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Ohio and Texas and is an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor. Sara grew up in Oklahoma and earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Oklahoma State University. She received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from ACU and her doctorate in MFT from Texas Tech University. In addition to her academic and clinical work, she is a member of the Counselor, Social Worker & Marriage and Family Therapist licensing board in Ohio and a member of the Governance Leadership Identification Task Force with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She also practices part-time.

Spotlight

Child and Family

Child and Family Services: Bachelor’s Degree vs. Master’s Degree

From government-run agencies to non-profit organizations, there has been an increase in demand for skilled child and family service professionals. But what does it take educationally to serve these communities? We’ve broken down the differences between earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in our latest blog.

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Interested in a career where you work directly with people who benefit from your guidance? A Marriage and Family Therapist or Psychologist may be the right fit. Read on to discover the key differences between the two so you can choose the one that best suits your interests.

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Dr. Sara Salkil, Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Sara Salkil

“I wanted to give back to a program that gave me so much,” said Dr. Sara Salkil, program director for ACU Online’s COAMFTE-accredited Master of Marriage and Family Therapy, Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services and Certificate in Medical Family Therapy programs. Check out how she’s done just that and more in our faculty spotlight.

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Do you want to come home from work each day feeling fulfilled? Meaningful careers may be what you seek. Learn more here.

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4 Benefits of Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist

As a marriage and family therapist or counselor, you can make a positive difference while also earning a comfortable income and enjoying flexible hours.

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Vocational formation is all about finding your life’s calling, learning how God is shaping you into the person you were born to be. You likely have a career goal or the spark of an idea of what you’d like to do professionally. ACU’s unique approach to vocational formation takes this a step further by helping you understand your deeper desire to serve others, no matter what the job title or duties entail.

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BS in Child and Family Services

Begin a career encouraging supportive relationships and shepherding a child’s development through specific life events. Government organizations, hospitals, community agencies and nonprofits seek out professionals with this knowledge base, and opportunities are growing. Based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, marriage and family therapists will see 16% more positions between 2020 and 2030, while health education specialists and community health workers and social and human service assistants are predicted to see 17% more positions.

ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Child Life and Family Services further sets you up to enter a graduate program centered around therapy, counseling, education or social work. Possible pathways include master’s programs in child life, child and adolescent development or marriage and family therapy

Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services

To be considered for admission, students must:

  • Submit official high school and/or college transcripts.
  • Complete the online program application accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee.

Students are not required to submit ACT or SAT test scores.

Graduation Requirements: Students must earn a 2.5 GPA or higher for all courses taken at ACU and at least a “C” in each major course.

SACSCOC Stamp Color

Abilene Christian University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Ga. 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of ACU.

Abilene Christian University enjoys a strong national reputation as one of the leading private Christian universities in the west and southwest, indicated by various ratings (such as U.S. News and World Report and other reports).


Objectives

No two families are alike. Yet, specific factors strengthen the family unit. Starting with current research and emphasizing applied learning, the online Bachelor’s in Child and Family Services sheds light on the factors families face and the essential skills for promoting healthy, developmentally appropriate social bonds. This approach sets the stage for a purposeful career connecting with families across all ages and demographics, delivering resources to maintain and improve their bonds and shepherding each individual’s emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing in their past, current and future environments.

Whether you intend to enter the workforce after graduation or aspire to a career as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or child development professional, ACU’s online BS in Child and Family Services creates a bridge to your goals:

  • get exposed to the day-to-day workings of a practice or community agency; 
  • understand what it takes to uplift families, children and communities, from research-based theories to communication and listening skills;
  • begin to develop evaluation strategies that involve assessing family dynamics, encouraging child development from infancy through adolescence and overseeing plans and interventions;
  • explore the internal and external factors affecting the family unit, from illness and disability to trauma, loss and bereavement; and
  • nourish your passion for advocacy while connecting with your faith in a supportive online environment designed to help you persevere through a new, sometimes demanding endeavor.