Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) is a nationally recognized curriculum to train students how to effectively address child abuse and neglect in real world applications through multidisciplinary team coordination. Successful completion of these courses will enable students to identify child abuse and neglect, report child maltreatment appropriately, and become a viable community team member in the prevention and remediation of child maltreatment.  The current multidisciplinary team approach to family/victim advocacy, forensic interviews, investigations, service provision, prevention, community education and prosecutions is actively modeled in skill building activities throughout the courses.  Child maltreatment and other adverse childhood experiences have been shown to adversely affect human development, which adds to a host of societal problems.  The CAST program's goal is to work with our community as a whole to eradicate child maltreatment in the years to come. CAST has been implemented in 28 colleges or universities in 21 states including law schools, seminaries, medical schools, and internationally.



  • Undergraduate and graduate programs are unprepared to train students on how to address child maltreatment and are under preparing students to work in their prospective fields and adequately identify and work with victims of child maltreatment.  Families are suffering from the lack of appropriate responses and services.
  • Interdisciplinary program for students entering the fields of: criminal justice, education, social work, nursing, psychology, law, medical and dental schools, early childhood, counseling, seminaries and other related programs.
  • Program involves a multidisciplinary approach for students in higher education classes that allows the various disciplines to learn to work together to prevent, identify and work with situations involving child abuse and neglect.
  • CAST is a unique program that can be designed to the requirements of each university and it brings academia into application by teaching students the skills necessary to work effectively as part of a team that reflects real world experiences.


The CAST curriculum focuses on interdisciplinary, ethical, realistic, and culturally sensitive content that provides professionals a foundation for responding to child maltreatment. Students learn about the various disciplinary responses to child maltreatment and will develop a multidisciplinary understanding of the most efficient responses. Students completing the courses in the program will be better equipped to accomplish the work of related agencies (social work, criminal justice, nursing, etc.) as they advocate on behalf of child victims and survivors of child maltreatment.



Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi and Silent Tears, will provide a conference for institutions of higher learning to explore the Child Advocacy Studies curriculum offered at various sites across the country. The conference will introduce all the unique features of the program and explain how it can include several departments within schools. The conference will offer the latest developments in the child protection field and will allow attendees to share and exchange ideas for implementing curricula at their institutions. Syllabi and reading materials will be shared, along with assignment recommendations and course descriptions. After attending the conference, participants will be able to deliver the curriculum materials and information to their institutions, and propose the implementation of this highly impactful program.



  • When Faith Hurts: Recognizing and Responding to the Spiritual Impact of Child Maltreatment
  • CAST 301 – Child Maltreatment: Perspectives on Child Maltreatment and Child Advocacy
  • CAST 302 – Global Child Advocacy Issues
  • CAST 401 – Child Advocacy II: Professional and System Responses to Child Maltreatment
  • CAST 402 – Child Advocacy III: Responding to the Survivor of Child Abuse and Survivor Responses
  • Understanding Adverse Childhood Experience Research
  • Elective Courses
    • CAST 403 – Child Exploitation, Pornography and the Internet
    • CAST 404 – Sociology of Child Poverty
    • CAST 406 – Research
    • Juvenile Delinquency
    • CAST 407 – CAST Capstone Experience
  • Teaching CAST online
  • CAST 405 – Gender, Violence, and Society Child Maltreatment and Intimate Partner Violence
  • Lessons from Penn State
  • CAST Research
  • CAST at Community Colleges


  • Create a Partnership with the CACs through:
    • Assisting with course development
    • Becoming Adjunct Faculty
    • Coordinating Laboratories/Learning Labs
    • Internships/Job Shadowing
    • Creating Mock Houses
    • Debriefing instruction for students and actors
    • Researching projects
  • As a Chapter
    • CAST Coordinator to assist universities in the overall development of CAST
    • Assist with course development
    • Assist with CAST track at annual conference
    • Provide Adjunct Faculty (CACs and MDTs)
    • Participate in Speaker’s Bureau
    • Participate in Research Projects

Universities and Colleges

A CAST program is not difficult to add to the university or college academic program.  The courses may already exist and only need an infusion of CAST curriculum with organization into a CAST certificate or minor program.  The certificate is approved and offered by Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.  Course names and titles listed above are those that other schools have used.  The institution can number and title the course to fit the individual system.  Mississippi has a network of participating institutions that are sharing ideas, successes and helping each other.



cast schools
If you are interested in implementing cast at your university or college, please contact Dr. Kim Shackelford at