University gains certification from National Council on Family Relations

URI just the third New England school to offer Certified Family Life Educator program

KINGSTON, R.I. – Oct. 29, 2009 – With more families in need of relationship and resource education, University of Rhode Island students can now become Certified Family Life Educators from the National Council on Family Relations.

The University’s Human Development and Family Studies Department recently became the only program in Rhode Island to offer the provisional certification. In fact, among New England universities and colleges, URI is just the third school to be family life educator-certified by the national council, joining the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire-Durham.

Marilyn Martin, Rhode Island’s only Certified Family Life Educator since 1989, led the certification effort. Martin worked closely with Human Development and Family Studies Professor Barbara Newman and department chair Jerome Adams on the certification process. She and Newman identified the coursework needed for academic approval, while Adams submitted the proposal to the national council, which approved the University last January.

“This certification broadens the ability of our students to work in fields that move beyond child care and after-school programs,” Martin said. “Especially given the economy today, families are struggling. Not just in terms of finances, but also in terms of identifying useful resources.”

Martin stressed that the certification program is not for counseling or social work, but rather prevention education.

“What we are doing is extending research and education to the community at all levels,” Martin said. “The University now has an opportunity to train new professionals who can make a difference in family’s lives today.”

The certification is provisional, as undergraduate students need to complete the appropriate course work as well as 3,200 professional hours (about two years in the field). Graduate students need to complete 1,600 professional hours to become certified.

Certification is available to Human Development and Family Studies students who have graduated within the last two years and have completed the necessary course work. Students who meet certification requirements also are exempt from the national exam administered by the national council.

For the complete list of certification courses and requirements, visit or contact Martin at 401.874.2388 or

Founded in 1938, the National Council for Family Relations is the oldest, multi-disciplinary, non-partisan professional organization focused solely on family research, practice and education. It provides an educational forum for family researchers, educators and practitioners to share in the development and dissemination of knowledge about families and family relationships.