Certificate of Youth Development and Social Justice

group of students sitting outside

The 18-credit certificate program was designed to help you understand the unique challenges facing adolescents and young adults in our rapidly changing world.  Intended for counselors, educators, family therapists, social workers and other professionals dedicated to serving the developmental needs of youth in contemporary society, the program provides an overview of the major issues that impact youth development from a social justice perspective.

Students enter our program with the desire to nurture the adolescents and youth of their community; they graduate with the skills and knowledge to do so effectively. The program can be completed for 18 undergraduate credits or a non-credit professional development certificate.

In our collaborative, student-centered learning environment, you will learn about the factors that contribute to positive youth development, and how they may be fostered within peer groups, families, communities, and social institutions, thereby reducing risk for poor developmental outcomes. 

Courses focus on normative and maladaptive patterns of adolescent development, the social ecology of positive youth development, juvenile justice from a global perspective, and methods of prevention, intervention and restorative justice.

To register for the credit certificate program, participants are required to have previously earned at least 60 college credits.

Who Should Enroll?

  • Professionals working in youth development programs, schools, and organizations serving adolescent and young adult populations
  • Adult students interested in pursuing such professions
  • School and family counselors
  • Teachers and administrators
  • Career changers

Program Benefits for the Individual Learner:

  • Improves your knowledge of normative and maladaptive patterns of development
  • Improves your knowledge of the peer, family, community and institutional contexts of adolescent development
  • Increases your awareness of how culture, gender, ethnicity and class contribute to youth development
  • Provides specific skills for creating and delivering evidence-based programs that nurture positive youth development
  • A powerful addition to your resume, helping you stand out in the crowd of job applicants
  • A door opener to a multitude of careers in youth development, including adolescent behavioral health, education, and corrections.

Program Benefits for the Organization:

  • Contributes to organizational efforts aimed at developing, implementing, and assessing intervention and prevention programs
  • Improves the effectiveness of educational, intervention and prevention programs,
  • Provides a context for building relationships with individuals from other youth agencies and institutions in the community
  • Supports the vision and mission of the organization
  • Builds a "bench strength" of effective current or future organizational leaders
  • Supports your employee retention efforts through higher educational opportunities

Certificate Courses

Take all of the following (9 credits):

HD FS 239 (GS) Adolescent Development (3 credits) Social, behavioral, and biological development and intervention throughout adolescence.

CRIMJ 013 (GS) (SOC 013) Juvenile Delinquency (3 credits) Juvenile conduct, causes of delinquency, current methods of treatment; organization and function of agencies concerned with delinquency.

HD FS 397 (Special Topics) Juvenile Corrections in Global Perspective. Comparative exploration of juvenile justice systems worldwide, including juvenile law, prevention and intervention methods, organization and functions of juvenile justice agencies, and advocacy.

Choose 9 credits, at least 6 of which must be at the 400-level:

SOC 005 (GS) Social Problems (3 credits)
Current social problems such as economic, racial, and gender inequalities; social deviance and crime; population, environmental, energy, and health problems.

HD FS 301 Values and Ethics in Health and Human Development Professions (3 credits)
Examines bases for choices among values in personal and professional relations in human development processes and supporting services.

HD FS 410 Communities and Families (3 credits)
Family and community interaction, emphasizing strategies for intervention to solve family-community problems.

HD FS 411 The Helping Relationship (3 credits)
Theory and research related to interpersonal conditions which facilitate personal growth; intensive interpersonal competency training.

HD FS 414 Resolving Human Development and Family Problems (3 credits)
Strategies for, and roles of professional specialists in, the solution of problems in human development and family functioning.

HD FS 432 Development Problems in Childhood and Adolescence (3 credits)
Analysis of problems in individual development from infancy through adolescence; prevention and modification of developmental difficulties.

HD FS 433 Developmental Transition to Adulthood (3 credits)
Conceptual analysis and empirical investigation of interrelationships between developmental processes during the period of pubertal growth.

CRIMJ 441 Juvenile Justice System. (3 credits)
Historical and contemporary view of the juvenile justice system. Focus on analyzing components of the system, their interactions, processing, and handling of youths.

The program can be completed for 18 undergraduate credits.

For more information, please contact the Continuing Education office at Penn State Brandywine:
610-892-1300 or email: [email protected].