Why did Elise Attema ’13 transfer to JBU? “I was a social work major and knew I wanted to specialize more in the area of child and family,” she explained. “I visited JBU, met with the professors and realized that God was calling me to come here.”

Child and Family Studies majors are students who desire to help children and families around the world. JBU graduates with a CFS degree work with families across the age span—with orphans, with those who have been sexually abused, with children with special needs, with refugees, with families in poverty, and with the elderly. Some work as children’s ministers. Others, after attending graduate school, work as occupational therapists, play therapists, and marriage and family therapists. This blended major (drawing from both biblical and psychological foundations) prepares students for a wide range of careers working with hurting children and families in the public or private sector, both globally and domestically with faith-based and governmental agencies. CFS majors are making a tangible difference around the world.

Students in the curriculum course create a four-session set of lessons for children facing particular difficulties such as children whose parents have recently divorced, children in the foster care system, children recovering from sexual abuse or former child soldiers. Each student also researches a cutting-edge issue in the field of children's spirituality such as the role of movement in children's spirituality or nurturing spiritual development in children with special needs.

The culminating course for the child and family studies major is Senior Seminar. Each student constructs an authentic, researchable question (in conjunction with an organization, agency or church), collects original data and presents the resulting research paper at a university-wide event.

“Professors apply real world situations to what we are learning in class,” Elise said. “This major is definitely preparing me for the realities that some children face and the brokenness that is out there.”