Certificate in Child Advocacy Studies (CAST)


This certificate was designed to develop students’ ability to recognize, report and investigate child maltreatment.  This certificate is open to all students, but may be particularly useful to those who desire to work in any capacity with children and their families.  The core courses are taught by practicing professionals in the legal, social services and law enforcement communities. The core courses will provide useful information to any individual who comes in contact with children, but will be particularly useful to those working or volunteering in an educational setting (schools, day care, camp, sports, scouting, churches), the medical profession (doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors), social services and the criminal justice system. Students will learn about the history of child maltreatment, the impact of values and culture on the perception of child maltreatment, and how to recognize the indicators of abuse, neglect and maltreatment. Students will learn reporting requirements and investigative practices, and will be introduced to the value of forensic interviews and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the problem of child maltreatment.  Students will have the opportunity to do a mock case study and a mock home visit and investigation. Students will also learn about prevention, advocacy and the effects of child maltreatment.

This is a dual-credit certificate.  The courses are designed to be taken sequentially.  Contact the Certificate Coordinator or the Academic Coordinator to discuss how the credits correlate with a chosen major.


Core Requirements (9 credits)

SOC 425 Child Abuse: Recognition and Investigation

SOC 426 Responding and Investigation: Child Maltreatment

SOC 427 Responding to the Survivors of Child Abuse and Survivor Responses

Electives (6 credits)

Two electives are also required to earn the Child Advocacy Certificate. Approved courses are listed below. Students may be able to substitute courses from their degree program, depending on their major. Please check with the Certificate Coordinator.

Select two courses from the following:

Behavioral Science

SOC 302 Marriage and the Family

SOC 303 Contemporary Social Problems

SOC 323 Law & Practice in Human Services

SOC 404 Human Trafficking

SOC 405 Social Deviance

SOC 464 Working in the Helping Professions

SOC 468 Case Management

SOC 469 Step-Parenting & Blended Families

SOC 490 Internship in Behavioral Science (Behavioral Science majors)

Criminal Justice

CRJ 318 Criminal Investigation

CRJ 469 Domestic Violence

CRJ 474 Victims of Crime

CRJ 490 Internship in Criminal Justice


PSY 323 Law & Practice in Human Services

PSY 330 Infant and Toddler Development

PSY 332 Adolescent Development

PSY 333 Psychology of the Exceptional Child

PSY 336 Child Development

PSY 375 Forensic Psychology

PSY 412 Crisis Intervention

PSY 481 Domestic Violence

PSY 472 Bullying

PSY 490 Internship in Behavioral Science (Psychology Majors)

Legal Studies

LES 323 Law & Practice in Human Services

LES 306 Family Law

Total credits for the CAST certificate: 15

This information applies to students who enter this degree program during the 2024-2025 Academic Year. If you entered this degree program before the Fall 2023 semester, please refer to the academic catalog for the year you began your degree program.