What kind of teaching style can I expect? Though there is some typical lecture in CAST courses, we depend largely on experiential learning models. We even have a federal grant to disseminate Problem Based Learning-Simulations to other CAST communities across the United States. Several of our courses make use of our "mock house" to increase student learning, and guest speakers are also frequently included. All instructors for CAST courses are active professionals from Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis.

How will a CAST minor or certificate help me? We try to gather data every year from former CAST certificate graduates to more accurately answer this question. As it is a unique program with growing national recognition, some of how it will help you is dependent on your ability to advocate for the skills you developed independently. However, in several surveys employers across a range of child-serving professions expressed that they were likely to give preferential hiring to someone with such a focused trauma-informed education background. The CAST program is designed to equip you with practical knowledge and trauma-informed experiential and reasoning skills to make you more effective in any setting working with families and children with trauma histories. Given the growing recognition of the importance of trauma-informed care throughout a range of sectors, this training is likely to set you apart from other job applicants.

I have a full-time job. Can I complete this certificate during the evening? Yes, the schedule is designed to make this a possibility.

I already have my degree, can I still get the certificate?  Yes, the certificate can be taken independently, regardless of what level of education you completed previously. To enroll this way, please complete a non-degree seeking student application. Please note that financial aid is not available for people only pursuing the certificate. The minor can only be completed while pursuing an undergraduate degree as an UMSL student.


Are all of the classes offered every semester?  Not yet, though as demand grows, we are able to offer more sections. Our minimal schedule commitment is the following:

  • Traumatic Stress in Childhood and Adolescence (Spring and Fall)
  • Child Maltreatment: A Multidisciplinary Approach (Spring and Fall)
  • Forensic Investigation of Child Abuse and Neglect (Spring)
  • Assessment and Intervention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Fall)
  • Internship in Child Advocacy Studies and the associated Seminar (Spring and Fall)

When can I do the internship? The internship is viewed as the capstone of the certificate and is not required for the minor. As a capstone, all other CAST courses should be completed, though it can be taken at the same time as a student’s final CAST course. Students need a special enrollment code in order to register for the internship and seminar. To obtain this, they should set up a meeting with the CAST director at least three months PRIOR to the internship to learn about the process and review eligibility. To set the meeting, please complete this internship registration form.