Graduate Certificate

Child Advocacy Studies Graduate Certificate at USC Upstate

The Certificate Program in Child Advocacy Studies


The Certificate Program in Child Advocacy Studies is designed for professionals already working in the child protection field and wish to develop greater knowledge and skills, as well as individuals preparing for a career in this area. 

Curriculum Outline

The Certificate Program in Child Advocacy Studies requires fifteen (15) credit hours beyond the Bachelor’s degree. The core curriculum is interdisciplinary (9 hours) and draws from various disciplines including Psychology, Criminal Justice and Sociology. The program will also have an elective option from multiple disciplines (3 hours) and a field project (3 hours). Graduates of this program will have a strong understanding of the theoretical and environmental issues that surround child abuse, evidence-based intervention strategies, and multidisciplinary approaches to prevention, advocacy, and treatment of child maltreatment victims and survivors. This curriculum is experiential with an emphasis on ethical and legal responsibility, and cultural sensitivity. The multidisciplinary framework will enhance professional skills in a variety of settings including law enforcement, behavioral health, healthcare, law and education.

Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Child Advocacy Studies Brochure PDF Document Download

Required Courses

_____ CAST 700: Perspectives in Child Maltreatment (3)
_____ CAST 701: System Responses to Child Maltreatment (3)
_____ CAST 702: Prevention and Intervention Strategies (3)
_____ CAST 798: Topics in Child Advocacy (3)
_____ CAST 799: Child Advocacy Project/Internship (3)

_____ Total Hours Required 15

Admission Criteria

Baccalaureate degree
GRE not required
GPA 2.5 in last 60 hours (3.0 preferred), or demonstrated field experience
Application includes a personal statement and 2 letters of recommendation

Need and Demand for the Program

National and state research in child abuse shows consistent themes of inadequate training at the undergraduate and graduate level, along with a lack of experiential training in the field. The Child Advocacy Certificate Program is part of a national effort to end child abuse through education. Many professionals currently working in child protection hold Baccalaureate degrees that are not directly related to their field of work. Therefore, gaps exist in the knowledge base and level of expert training.

“A large body of research and the overwhelming experience of front line child protection professionals speak to the need to dramatically improve undergraduate and graduate training on child maltreatment. To this end, the Child Advocacy Studies degrees offered at the University of South Carolina Upstate provide rigorous, evidence based education that will empower future child protection professionals to excel in responding to all forms of child maltreatment.”
Victor Vieth, Executive Director Emeritus
Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center

Employment Opportunities for Graduates

South Carolina and Upstate agency professionals indicate a strong interest in hiring students with a post baccalaureate certificate in Child Advocacy Studies, as well as interest in the opportunity for existing employees to advance their careers with further educational opportunities in Child Advocacy Studies.

Silent Tear Project

The Center for Child Advocacy Studies was invited to partner with the Julie Valentine Center and the National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) to study the responses to cases of child sexual abuse in the state of South Carolina. Silent Tears South Carolina collected information from child protection professionals in seven counties that were selected to represent South Carolina along with a statewide online survey. With information collected from more than 600 child protection professionals, this research was used to identify the strengths of the state in its response to cases of child abuse and to identify areas of improvement. The Center remains active serving on a statewide taskforce to oversee implementation of the recommended changes.