University of Missouri-St. Louis

   CAST program established: 08/20/2014
   1 University Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63121, USA

About University of Missouri-St. Louis

With more than 16,000 students, the University of Missouri–St. Louis is Eastern Missouri’s premier public research university. UMSL provides excellent learning experiences and leadership opportunities to a diverse student body whose influence on the region upon graduation is immense.

What do your CAST students say about your program?

“I have a B.S. and M.A. in Criminology and neither prepared me to work in the field the way my CAST certificate did. Now that I’m in a position of supervision, which includes hiring and training new employees, I look forward to the opportunity to bring other CAST graduates into the fold.”
“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.”
“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.”
"The CAST classes were my absolute favorite while at UMSL. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants to work with children in any capacity."
"Best program ever. It really helped me figure out what I want to do career wise."
"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."
"I'm so glad I found the CAST Program! I use the knowledge I gained every day at my job. My supervisors love how well-prepared I was to work in the field."
"I cannot say enough how the CAST program has prepared me to do my job well. I came into my job as a recent college graduate with better interviewing skills than some of my colleagues who have been child abuse investigators for years. The practice in technical writing, behavioral observations, and cursory interviewing was invaluable. I use skills I learned in the CAST program in my work every day."

Frequently Asked Questions

In what department(s) or field(s) of study is your CAST program housed?

Department of Psychological Sciences

What is the nature of your CAST program? Is it a Major, Minor, Certificate program, or something else?

Major, Minor, and Certificate

What CAST course delivery options exist at your institution (e.g. online, face-to-face, hybrid)?

Online, face-to-face, and hybrid

What are the enrollment requirements for your CAST program?

Any student in good academic standing is eligible to enroll.

What courses do you offer under your CAST programming?

CAST 1000: Introduction to Child Advocacy Studies
CAST 2100: Communication in Child Advocacy
CAST 2200: Policy and Global Issues in Child Advocacy
CAST 2300: Ethics and Values in Child Advocacy
CAST/PSYCH 3290: Traumatic Stress in Childhood and Adolescence
CAST 3650: Culture and Child Advocacy
CAST/PSYCH/SOC WK 4398: Child Maltreatment: A Multidisciplinary Approach
CAST 4498: Forensic Investigation of Child Abuse
CAST 4598: Child Abuse Assessment and Intervention
CAST 4698: Internship in Child Advocacy Studies
CAST 4700: Field Education Seminar in Child Advocacy Studies

When are your CAST courses being offered?

Classes are offered fall and spring. All courses have a minimum of one online section per calendar year.

What is enrollment like for your CAST program?

Since beginning our program in 2014, we demonstrated 250% growth in enrollment with an average of 150-200 students enrolled in a CAST course each semester. We have conferred over 100 certificates and minors. With our newly approved major, we are anticipating a significant increase in enrollment.

Why do students need CAST?

The BA in Applied Psychology of Child Advocacy Studies, as well as our minor and certificate, prepare students to be trauma-informed professionals who respond appropriately to experiences of traumatic stress and maltreatment in children and adolescents. This applicable, innovative and accessible program prepares graduates to move into a variety of child serving sectors. This interdisciplinary program is enhanced by hands-on skill development, immersive learning experiences and mentoring from professionals in the workforce and is one of the first three majors of its kind in the country. Upon completion of the BA in Applied Psychology of Child Advocacy Studies, the certificate or minor, graduates will be able to develop and demonstrate Trauma Informed Experiential and Reasoning Skills; apply empirical and conceptual knowledge of traumatic stress; think critically about how to respond to childhood traumatic stress to promote resiliency in children and families; create trauma-informed relationships with diverse consumers; interact effectively with professionals across disciplines; and advocate for trauma-informed policy changes that promote the well-being of all children, including those which prevent child abuse and secondary traumatic stress.

What makes your CAST program stand out?

UMSL CAST students have unique opportunities. These opportunities include:
• The whole program is accessible in an online/virtual environment
• Connection to a fully-functioning, accredited Child Advocacy Center
embedded within a university for 25+ years.
• Well established coordination of the St. Louis area multidisciplinary team’s
response to child abuse and neglect, including broad networking with law
enforcement, child protection, medical providers, mental health
professionals, civil and criminal court systems, and school systems. Team
members both serve as guest lecturers and create internship and practicum
• Staff experts in trauma focused counseling, forensic interviewing and family
advocacy who can serve as mentors.
• Existing simulation lab (“Mock House” property) that creates high-impact
learning experiences for students.
• National leadership recognition by the National Child Traumatic Stress
Network with federal funding to disseminate components of our curriculum
to other universities across the nation (
•Problem-Based Learning Simulations integrated throughout the curriculum

What do colleagues, professionals or administrators say about your CAST program?

In a recent survey, 89% of supervisors and senior leaders of social service agencies in metropolitan and rural areas of Missouri and Illinois indicated that a new hire with an AP- CAST degree would be ‘extremely helpful’ (61%) or ‘very helpful’ ( 28%) to their agency when considered in relation to other undergraduate degrees in Psychology, Social Work and Criminal Justice. Moreover, these supervisors and senior leaders in the field responded that with all else about a candidate being equal a potential hire with an AP-CAST degree would be given ‘high priority’ (50%) or ‘essential priority’ (22%). We have also had multiple students report quick promotions to supervisor, reduced probationary/training periods, and higher starting positions and salaries tied directly to the training they received.

What does research say about your CAST program?

We have done some evaluation as part of a different grant that demonstrates that CAST students are making improvements in their self-ratings of knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards trauma informed care. Thus demonstrating that participation in CAST classes is helping prepare students for their professional careers.

What are some career opportunities for your CAST graduates?

Adoption and Foster Care, Case Management, Child Protection, Child Welfare, Early Childhood Development, Education and Educational Advocacy, Juvenile Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal Advocacy, Non-Profit Service and Administration, Pre-Law, Primary and Behavioral Healthcare, Public Health Prevention, Public Policy, and Victim Services

Notable, upcoming CAST campus events?

CAST camp
Red Can Graffiti Jam Volunteer trip
FORECAST community trainings

Where can students find more information about your CAST program?