CHILD ADVOCACY STUDIES

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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.

Why cast is important
  • Families are suffering from the lack of appropriate responses and services.
  • 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.
What is the focus of cast?

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.

Courses replicate the multidisciplinary approach to responding to child abuse, which is implemented on the local level. Schools emphasize experiential learning through the course work. Many schools have elected to create mock houses or mock courtrooms to enhance the learning experience.

How is cast implemented?

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. 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.

PROVIDING COURAGE THROUGH CURRICULUM
  • 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
Universities & 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.

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