Strengths-based Family Workers Credential

SFW @ Temple Harrisburg

SFW logo


The Credential for Strengths-based Family Workers is a professional training course and credentialing program comprised of competency-based curriculum.  It is uniquely focused on the development and documentation of knowledge and skill through a multi-faceted evaluation process. Workers who complete the SFW program are better able to facilitate a family’s ability to set and reach their own goals.  While nationally standardized, the training is tailored to meet the needs of local communities and implemented by Lead Agencies or Approved Providers.

To earn the Credential for Strengths-based Family Worker, each participant must successfully:

  • Complete a minimum of 80 hours of interactive classroom instruction

  • Demonstrate the 6 Core Competencies which help define the qualities of a strengths-based family worker

  • Complete a skills portfolio and participate in a minimum of 10 hours of individual sessions with a learning coach.

  • Pass a National SFW credentialing exam

Features of SFW:

  • Workers learn skills related to effective family engagement,effective communication, problem solving, action planning, cultural humility, critical thinking, reflection and evaluating performance

  • Incorporates a variety of evidenced based training methodologies by trained community based family development instructors

  • Skills are shared with those they help, supporting the development of skills in help seekers

  • Includes portfolio coaching by a trained Learning Coach

  • Allows for demonstration of core family worker skills

  • Assessment exam evaluates achievement of learning objectives

  • Credential issued by Temple University

  • Opportunity to earn 7 college credits and CEU’s

  • Instructor and Learning Coach Trainings may be evaluated for approval of continuing education hours nationally

The 6 Core Competencies of SFW:

  • Demonstrates professionalism and commitment to ethical practice

  • Recognizes strength in diversity and difference; demonstrate sensitivity in practice

  • Understands and utilizes the power of clear, non-judgmental communication

  • Demonstrates self-care and lifelong learning

  • Applies strengths-based principles to practice with families

  • Applies strengths-based principles to agency and community systems


Nancy Williams, PA SFW Instructor, Blair County, Pennsylvania

“I appreciate the changes and updates which vastly improve the strengths-based curriculum, and create a more dynamic and living learning process for individuals who want to improve their understanding and work with families.  It is also more relevant to our time.  The clarification of the learning objectives and updated individual learning assignments has helped to provide a more clear and concise opportunities for students to demonstrate their learning and progress.”

Valerie Griffiths, PA SFW Instructor, Chester County, Pennsylvania

“I received some really good feedback from a class member about the HRI that I wanted to share with you.  The class member used the inventory on a client with whom she has had a struggling relationship.  The client rated her relationship with the worker as being better than the worker thought it was and they had a great dialogue about it.  Their relationship has greatly improved and the client is now making progress in services”.

Robin Barbour, PA SFW Instructor, Union and Snyder Counties, Pennsylvania

“-I have seen many examples of increased self-awareness about skills through using the LAP and HRI-using the tools has made them more self-aware of how they relate to the families. And, through the assignments, they have identified some very specific steps about what they can do to improve. -Many, in their writing,demonstrated an increased understanding of their culture and how it affects their work with families. -Several identified a bias about the families that they work with (poor "unmotivated" people, drug users)-that they were already aware of, but now have a tool to help them examine it.....and they are now working to change the bias, through specific steps.”

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania Participant Feedback

“This course has really helped me to see ‘the others’ side.’ By learning strengths-based skills and including the help-seeker’s input it helps build trusting relationship and helps achieve successful results”

“I learned how to better communicate with my families. I'm better at understanding culture and diversity of families. I learned how much I did not know regarding casework”

“Class was invaluable. Thank you for the information that changes lives for help givers and help seekers.”

Excerpt from 2014 National College Credit Recommendation Service Report

"There clearly have been vast and marked improvements to this program and curriculum since the initial review in 2013. It is obvious that Temple staff took these reviewers' recommendations to heart. Temple has worked diligently to bring this program to an excellent, current level of instruction, evaluation and education"


Myka Piatt        Myka Piatt
Carolyn Truchon        Carolyn Truchon