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Child Advocacy Studies (CAST)

Vision Statement

UMSL’s Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) program prepares students across multiple disciplines to be trauma-informed professionals who respond appropriately to experiences of traumatic stress and maltreatment in children and adolescents.    


Mission Statement

In line with national standards provided by the Zero Abuse Project (ZAP), UM-St. Louis’ CAST program equips students through quality coursework including exposure to research and evidence-based responses to child abuse and neglect, as well as experiential learning opportunities, leading to better professional preparation and collaboration skills across multidisciplinary child-serving sectors.


About CAST

In 2010, CASGSL committed to enlarging its instructional footprint in order to better align itself with the University’s core teaching mission.  Beginning in 2014, UM-St. Louis offers an interdisciplinary 19-hour undergraduate certificate and 15-hour minor in Child Advocacy Studies (CAST). These programs include CAST courses designed and taught by current CASGSL staff and faculty, elective options from six different departments, an internship, and associated seminar.  All CAST courses are in line with national standards developed by the Zero Abuse Project (ZAP).  UM-St. Louis is one of the first universities to incorporate these standards into its curriculum. As a university, UM-St. Louis is rare in that it has a fully functioning Child Advocacy Center as part of its campus, giving students access to professors highly connected to current presenting issues in the field. 

In an academic year, CAST typically enrolls over 200 students from a range of disciplines (e.g., psychology, social work, criminal justice, sociology, education, nursing, public policy, biology, business, liberal studies, communication). Please contact CAST@umsl.edu with any questions or for additional information.



“I have been such a huge asset to my team having this skill set. It has prepared me to provide trauma-informed care to children in a capacity that enables me to do my job better than other recent grads. I'm teaching things to people who have been in the field for years and bringing way more to the table than a fresh set of eyes. I've been able to connect with children and adolescents from all over the country and affected them in ways I could never have imagined. I wouldn't have been able to provide half the insight or guidance without the level of education and awareness the cast program has instilled.”

“I already had my master's degree when I started the CAST program. Everything was relevant and immediately applicable to working in child advocacy. I started a new job last fall, and my supervisor has commented she wishes she could hire more CAST graduates because of the practical knowledge they have. I could not be happier about the education I received in this program and recommend it to anyone who wants to work in child advocacy.”

“Best program ever. It really helped me figure out what I want to do career-wise.”

“The CAST instructors I had courses with had so much knowledge to share about how childhood trauma affects children and families. I can tell CAST instructors at UMSL are clearly passionate about the work that they are involved in and truly want to help students succeed. I enjoyed the CAST program and would recommend it to other students who are interested in pursuing child or family related careers.”

“The CAST certificate made me a more knowledgeable professional. I am able to communicate with caregivers whose children have experienced trauma. I also am more prepared to work with children who have experienced trauma versus those who have not been through the program. I am more confident in conducting cursory interviews and recognizing signs of abuse or trauma. It is because of the CAST program that I continued to follow my passion in working with children and families. It is because of this program that I have the immense knowledge of child abuse and trauma. I owe SO MUCH to this program!! It TRULY prepares you for the real-life experiences of working with children and families in crisis.”