CFAR students begin their doctoral study with a fundamental grounding in clinical skills, including traditional assessment and psychotherapy, combined with strategies for supporting healthy family functioning, child wellness and positive youth development. Training in these fundamentals is supported by experiential learning in a variety of field sites throughout training. Students are offered additional supports in concentration-relevant Clinical Seminars and other classes that focus on the individual, the family, the community, and the broader society and culture.
In the later stages of training, CFAR students focus on underserved children and families who face multiple adversities, do not readily access existing systems of care, or do not benefit optimally from existing service models. These may be children coping with physical, developmental, learning or psychiatric disabilities; children who are exposed to various forms of family or community violence; children and families who face challenges arising from immigration or refugee status; families whose members are involved in child protection or the juvenile or criminal justice systems; and families facing substantial social, political or socioeconomic deprivation or disenfranchisement. Through classes and field placements, CFAR students acquire skills to identify risk factors, promote resiliencies from a strength-based perspective, support positive youth and family development, and utilize empirically-based and emerging “best practices” strategies. Clinical skills in assessment and intervention are supplemented by professional practice skills in multi-disciplinary collaboration, consultation, advocacy, and multi-systems analysis and intervention. CFAR maintains close linkage with other WJC specialized programs, including the Freedman Center for Family Development and the Pathways Program.