I graduated from the CNL program at UVA this past May. As far as the time commitment, I would say it is definitely more flexible than you would think. During the fall and spring semesters, you only have class 2 days a week. The rest of the week is your time for clinicals, homework, family, etc. Each person will require a different amount of time outside the classroom working on school work. You will find what works for you!
There were many group projects, but given the schedule, it was not so bad. On the two days a week that we were in class all day, we had 1-2 hours lunch breaks when groups could meet. Also, many group projects were completed online without any need to much meeting time. There were many people in my cohort with families, jobs, and long commutes. Also, groups tend to form based on those types of things. For example, parents may team up together so work can be scheduled with play dates. Or commuters may team up together based on where they reside.
There were a lot of papers as well, but many of them tended to be similar. I reused parts of papers on several occasions. Some of the papers are more time consuming than others, and some were more beneficial than others. If you feel overwhelmed, the professors are very understanding and accommodating if you need more time.
None of your questions are silly. They are all valid concerns, especially when you have a family to think about. In my cohort, there were approx. 30 students, maybe 10 of which had children - all different ages. Classmates would help babysit and professors would allow children to come to class, if necessary. One of my classmates even managed to get pregnant and give birth during the program.
This program is tough, but it is valuable and worth your while. The faculty and staff are extremely understanding of situational circumstances since this is a program for second career students. Many people go through this program with a list of other priorities to juggle. You will be amazed at how wonderful and important your CNL family will become to you!
If you have any other questions, please post!