CFLE Directions: Meeting the Needs of Practitioner CFLEs

Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, Director of Family Life Education
CFLE Network

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When I initially mapped out this issue of the Network, I intended to write about the availability of the new Family Life Education Assessment Exam, which NCFR is making available to academic institutions wishing to assess their family life education degree programs. However, as I started writing, I realized that this information might not be that interesting to Certified Family Life Educators (CFLE) working outside of academia. (However, I will share information about the FLE Assessment Exam in the NCFR Report or feel free to contact me if you are interested in learning more).

A significant number of CFLEs work in college or university settings (31% of CFLEs who completed the CFLE Exam Job Analysis survey in 2014) but in most cases their focus is on providing education to those who will go on to practice family life education in the field, working directly with or for families. The CFLE credential is valued and recognized in academia but may be more necessary as an indicator of expertise in practice settings where the qualifications of family professionals is more diverse.

The knowledge, skills, and abilities identified and influenced through Family Science research and theory represent the foundation of the CFLE credential. An equally important component is the translation of this research-based information to the day-to-day practice of family life educators. NCFR is largely an academic organization and this has an impact on the programs, services, and products we provide. NCFR does a good job of meeting the needs of CFLEs working in academic settings but we could do more to meet the needs of practitioner CFLEs.

The success of the Starting and Running Your Own Family Life Education Business webinar series and the rich array of conversations that occur on the CFLE listserv confirm that CFLEs are hungry for information that will help them in their practice. One of the reasons certification programs exist is to provide a forum for professionals to share information and influence best practices. Collectively, CFLEs have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they are quick to share. I want to do more to enable practitioner CFLEs to connect with and learn from each other.  

NCFR has the infrastructure in place to do this. We can offer webinars addressing FLE program development and implementation and to share information on research influencing practice. We have the CFLE listserv and will soon be launching a new platform that will allow a more robust and interactive discussion for sharing ideas and resources. The CFLE Network can include articles that highlight specific initiatives, programs, curricula, events, etc. relevant to the practice of family life education.

However, in order to make the best use of these tools, we need your input. I encourage you to contact me to share your ideas for how NCFR can better meet your needs as a practitioner. What concerns do you have? What topics would you like to learn more about? Are you interested in presenting a webinar or writing an article sharing information about a successful program or experience you have had as a family life education practitioner? CFLE is your program. Let’s work together to help you be the best family life educator you can be!