About Us

Current Projects

Past Projects



About Family Life Education

The Need for Family Life Education

About Family Life Education

What is family life education?

Family life education (FLE) is any effort to strengthen family life through education or support, and can include anything from teaching about relationships in schools to providing a parent’s day out. The objective of all family life education is to enrich and improve the quality of individual and family life.

Rather than define what constitutes a family, FLE emphasizes processes that help people develop into healthy adults, work together in close relationships, and bring out the best in others. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of Americans are ever reached by family life education. This is a painful reality since there is no enterprise that is as complex as being a human. There may be no arena of life in which education may be as valuable as in family life.

Who is a family life educator?

Family life educators share information related to family life with families, couples, parents, youth, or students by teaching, writing, coordinating, speaking or creating products.

Anyone who teaches others about family life could be considered a family life educator. Initially, it was not clear who qualified to be a family life educator, and sometimes physicians and nurses were used--people with professional training but no specific training in family life education. Specific training and certification for family life educators was badly needed.

This need was met by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), which now offers an accreditation for educators who meet specific academic and experience requirements. For more information see Certification Basics. Additionally, in recent years there have been movements to standardize and professionalize this growing field.

What do family life educators do?

Family life educators, using many methods and innumerable settings, provide valuable training to people who want to be more effective family members. Here are a few examples of family life educators at work to strengthen families:

  • Lawrence Barry works as a chaplain in Ft. Lewis, WA where along with his regular duties he provides pastoral counseling to soldiers and family members and conducts marriage and family enrichment/education workshops.

  • In Houston, Texas local judges appoint offenders and divorcing couples with minor children to attend Edward Stasney’s anger management and co-parenting workshops.

  • In Saratoga Springs, Utah, Paula Fellingham does a “Solutions for Families” radio show providing family information to listeners, writes columns for local newspapers and has written two family books.

  • Besides teaching premarital and marriage education, stepfamily strengthening, fathering and parenting seminars, Julie Baumgardner in Chattanooga, TN works with First Things First to promote family-friendly workplace policies and increase community awareness of the importance of strong marriages and families through public service campaigns.

  • Wally Goddard is an Extension Family Life Specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension. He has developed “Guiding Children Successfully," a public television series that is being broadcast nationally. He trains county agents in every corner of Arkansas to deliver effective partnering and parenting education in their communities. He has also worked with Alice Ginott (Haim Ginott's widow), to revise the parenting classic, Between Parent & Child.

Family life education is done by many different groups of people in many different ways. Delivery methods include print materials, mass media, classes, workshops, newsletters, mentoring and cultural change. The organizations that deliver family life education range from universities to entrepreneurs, from health organizations to government and military, from public schools to faith communities.

Family Life Education Institute
info@familylifeeducation.org 1-800-452-5662