Child Advocacy Studies


CAST 1000 Introduction to Child Advocacy Studies: 3 semester hours

This survey course explores how child-serving systems have evolved, the functions they serve, and the roles they play in the lives of children and families. Key legislation, concepts, theories, and historical and contemporary approaches will be examined to highlight the types of advocacy relevant to children and the career paths associated with them. Students will examine skills needed for success as a child advocate, including collaboration and secondary traumatic stress prevention.

CAST 2100 Communication in Child Advocacy: 3 semester hours

This course introduces the concept of child advocacy communication. Students will use critical thinking to develop interpersonal and multidisciplinary communication skills necessary for success in the field. Students will demonstrate skills through verbal persuasion, team decision making, professional documentation, and oral discourse; with a specific focus on public speaking.

CAST 2200 Policy and Global Issues in Child Advocacy: 3 semester hours

Prerequisites: CAST 1000. This course reviews the history and implications of key national and international policies related to child advocacy. Students will explore the components of policy-making and strategies for effective policy advocacy. Students will also engage in advocacy efforts with policy-makers on behalf of children.

CAST 2300 Ethics and Values in Child Advocacy: 3 semester hours

Prerequisites: CAST 1000. This course explores the ethical, legal and professional issues related to child advocacy. Students will study the codes of ethics from a range of multidisciplinary perspectives and apply ethical decision making processes to case studies. The values inherent in a variety of child-serving sectors will be considered, as well as the conflict resolution practices aimed at resolving tensions between professionals.

CAST 3290 Traumatic Stress in Childhood and Adolescence: 3 semester hours

Same as PSYCH 3290. Prerequisites: PSYCH 2270 (majors) or PSYCH 2268 or ED PSY 2212 or approval from the instructor. This course is an exploration of the biopsychosocial impact of community, family, and individual trauma and stressors experienced during infancy, childhood, and adolescence. It introduces students to relevant theoretical frameworks, cultural considerations, and advocacy strategies.

CAST 3650 Culture and Child Advocacy: 3 semester hours

This course will examine how history, cultural experiences, spirituality, and values impact the identity formation of children and youth. Special consideration will be given to the impact of historical trauma on youth and its implications for contemporary child-serving sectors. Primary sources will include indigenous and other underrepresented group writings.

CAST 4398 Child Maltreatment: A Multidisciplinary Approach: 3 semester hours

Same as PSYCH 4398 and SOC WK 4398. Prerequisites: CAST 3290 or PSYCH 3290 (may be taken concurrently), or consent of instructor. This course, with its interdisciplinary emphasis, focuses on the systemic response to the primary domains of child maltreatment by multidisciplinary teams and child advocacy centers. Risk factors, cultural considerations, and mandated reporting of child abuse and neglect are emphasized. Students will begin to develop professional skills pertaining to child maltreatment, using a variety of experiential learning modalities.

CAST 4498 Forensic Investigation of Child Abuse: 3 semester hours

Prerequisites: CAST 4398 or PSYCH 4398 or SOC WK 4398. This course is designed for students across multiple disciplines where knowledge of child abuse investigation and advocacy is necessary. It focuses on the investigative and prosecutorial responses of multidisciplinary team professionals involved with child abuse cases to expand the student's knowledge and skills about the most effective response to child abuse investigations. The course also includes critical thinking and competency-based skills training, such as conducting a cursory interview, participating in peer review, making case presentations, and producing investigative documentation.

CAST 4598 Child Abuse Assessment and Intervention: 3 semester hours

Prerequisites: CAST 4398 or PSYCH 4398 or SOC WK 4398. This course provides students from a variety of disciplines with knowledge and skills to intervene effectively and empathically with families who may experience child abuse and neglect. It uses experiential learning to develop critical thinking and skills in trauma-focused screening, assessment, and crisis intervention for vulnerable children and their families who are involved with child serving systems, such as law enforcement, child protective services, prosecution, and physical and mental health.

CAST 4698 Internship in Child Advocacy Studies: 3 semester hours

Prerequisites: CAST 4398 or PSYCH 4398 or SOC WK 4398, CAST 4498 (may be taken concurrently), CAST 4598 (may be taken concurrently), and approval of the CAST director. This course involves an internship in child or youth-serving setting and requires approval from the CAST director prior to enrolling. It must be taken concurrently with the CAST field education seminar (CAST 4700).

CAST 4700 Field Education Seminar in Child Advocacy Studies: 1 semester hour

Prerequisites: Consent of CAST director and concurrent enrollment in an approved CAST field education course. In this course, students will synthesize their learning from the Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) certificate courses with their field experiences.