Philadelphia University Offers New Certificate Program in Childhood Trauma Studies

Philadelphia University is offering a new professional certificate program in childhood trauma studies starting in the spring 2016 semester, with the first class meeting January 14.

In addition, PhilaU undergraduate students who complete the four-course curriculum can earn a minor in childhood trauma studies.

The certificate program is open to professionals and paraprofessionals who work with or wish to work with children and families in a variety of settings and disciplines, as well as PhilaU undergraduate and graduate students who seek to understand the complex impact of childhood trauma on development. The program offers advanced trauma knowledge, skills and competencies to promote healing and growth for children and families impacted by childhood adversity.

All tuition costs for professionals and paraprofessionals accepted into the program will be funded by the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, a partner in the program. For PhilaU students, the tuition will be part of their regular semester tuition fees.

Children growing up today in cities like Philadelphia are likely to be victims of crime, witness violence, or engage in criminal activity, all of which can serve to negatively impact mental health outcomes, said Jeanne Felter, Ph.D., director of PhilaU’s M.S. in Community and Trauma Counseling program, who is overseeing the certificate program.

“The overwhelming incidence and impact of childhood adversity demands that universities offer training to students and community members in an effort to build a trauma-informed workforce,” Felter said. “Trauma-informed professionals recognize that many children and adults have experienced traumatic events, they consider the pervasive impact such trauma may have on a child’s well- being, and they engage with children and families with compassion, sensitivity and intention to aid in healing.”

Courses will meet off-campus on Thursday evenings from 5:15 to 8:15 p.m. at One Penn Center, 1617 JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia. Evening meals, course materials and transportation expenses will be supported by the United Way. The program will accept up to 18 students, half of them professionals and paraprofessionals and half PhilaU students.

The certificate program is a partnership between PhilaU, United Way and the Institute for Family Professionals, a division of Lakeside Educational Network, which is providing the curriculum and certified instructors.

For more information on the Childhood Trauma Studies certificate program, go to

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