Child Advocacy Studies (CAST)
In 2010, CASGSL committed to enlarging its instructional footprint in order to better align itself with the University’s core teaching mission. To date, CASGSL faculty have piloted three child trauma specific courses and are actively developing additional curricula for a proposed undergraduate certificate in Child Advocacy Studies (CAST), the three courses are, Traumatic Stress in Childhood and Adolescence, Child Maltreatment; A Multidisciplinary Approach and Forensic Investigations in Child Abuse and Neglect. CASGSL anticipates adding at least one new course per year. Plans continue to move forward to seek approval for the 18 hour undergraduate certificate program and subsequent graduate certificate and programming. The undergraduate certificate expands CASGSL’s academic training repertoire which includes graduate and post-graduate level practicum, internship and post-doctoral residency opportunities.
CAST course objectives have been developed in accordance with course objectives from the National Child Protection Training Center, which is developing the accreditation standards for CAST programs.
In less than two years, CAST classes have enrolled over 230 students from a range of disciplines (psychology, social work, criminal justice, sociology, education, nursing, public policy, biology, business, liberal studies, communications). The majority of CAST students are women (80-85%) across the age span who have junior or senior status. CAST students are typically referred via advising, word of mouth or through presentations done by CASGSL staff members. The demand for CAST courses continues to increase and is expected to go even higher when the certificate program receives approval from the UMSL campus. Furthermore, CASGSL hopes to develop a post-baccalaureate CAST certificate for community professionals as well as graduate CAST programs. Without significant increases in faculty teaching resources, CASGSL faculty will not be able to meet the demands of CAST students.