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Listen to my interview on NPR Illinois | Community Voices

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This past semester, we launched the new CAST Minor and will be welcoming our first students in the Spring.  The CAST electives draw students from numerous degree programs (PSY, CCJ, SWK, TEP, LES, HDC & HMS) many of whom will pursue careers working with at risk children and families. CAST students leave the University better equipped to detect and report suspicions of child maltreatment, understanding their responsibilities as mandated reporters and what it requires to work at the frontlines of child protection. Employers recognize CAST students as having gained knowledge “above and beyond” and see this advanced preparation as a critical skill for working in the field, whether it is law enforcement, mental health, education or child welfare.

The CAST program at UIS was the second curriculum in the country to receive national approval in 2016 by the Zero Abuse Project, an advocacy  organization for professionals who share the mission to “protect children from abuse and sexual assault, by engaging people and resources through a trauma-informed approach of education, research, advocacy, and advanced technology.”  CAST courses combine critical research and best practices with simulation and case scenarios, bringing our students into the Residential Simulation Lab and Mock Courtroom.  UIS is also home to the Child Protection Training Academy, a statewide partnership with DCFS to train new child protection investigators, supervisors and multidisciplinary team members.  Many of you have no doubt driven past our little house in the cornfield, possibly wondering how we introduce simulation training to our students. 

Listen to the interview by Vanessa Ferguson with NPR Illinois where I She spoke to Community Voices about the Human Services program at UIS and the use of a Residential Simulation Lab to help prepare students to help people in need, click on NPR Illinois to listen to the interview.