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Family Connections

Connecting with local families is important to Child Study Center faculty and students. We welcome family interest and participation in our research (FIRSt Families) and in our outreach program for children (Friendship Group).

The Friendship Group Project

The Child Study Center is home to the Friendship Group project, which was designed to provide opportunities for elementary school children in the community to develop and practice the skills needed to form satisfactory friendships. Friendship groups are facilitated by teams of advanced undergraduate students who are trained and supervised by John Loughlin-Presnal, M.S., the Friendship Group program director. Additional support and supervision is provided by graduate students in the child clinical psychology program at Penn State. The Friendship Group program is funded as part of the Department of Psychology's undergraduate training program, and is offered to families and children in the community.

Families Interested in Research Studies – FIRSt Families

The Families Interested In Research Studies (FIRSt) database has been established to connect Penn State researchers and families with infants and young children in central Pennsylvania who are interested in participating in research. Developed through collaborations between faculty from Human Development and Family Studies, Psychology, and other departments throughout the University, and funded in part by the Center for Youth and Families Consortium, the database is housed and administrated at the Child Study Center.

Services for Families in Central Pennsylvania

Information to connect families with local resources to help with parenting, getting help for kids, etc.

Centre County Government
Find answers to common requests for services and information

Centre County PA Office of Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention & Drug and Alcohol
(814) 355-6786
Also called The Base Service Unit; a referral agency

Children & Youth Services
(814) 355-6755
An agency that works to protect children and adolescents from abuse and neglect

Children's Advocacy Center of Centre County, Mount Nittany Health
(814) 234-6118
A community based, child-focused center for families and children for the prevention, identification, intervention and treatment of child abuse.

TIDES- A support program for grieving children and the people who love them. Children ages five to eighteen and their adult family members come together to share their grief in a supportive, non-judgmental atmosphere. For more information visit the web site,, or call 231-7112.

Youth Service Bureau, Centre County
(814) 355-1025
An agency that offers programs to promote the well-being of children and adolescents

Tips for Talking to Children and Youth after Traumatic Events and other Helpful Links

Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters: What Parents Can Do? (National Institute of Mental Health)

National Association of School Psychologists Resources & Publications

Project Know: Helpful information for parents of troubled teens

The Fred Rogers Company Parent Resources

School Crisis Guide (National Educational Association Health Information Network)

Tips for Talking to Children After Traumatic Events (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

If you suspect a case of child abuse or maltreatment, click here for information on how to take action.

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