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Northeastern’s Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) Minor Program has been created to provide students with knowledge and skills to deliver high-quality services to infants, children, and youth.  The program’s goal is to prepare students to work effectively within various systems and institutions that respond to children’s concerns.  The CAST program includes a focus on immigrants and displaced children, and teaches resiliency-building strategies for working with at-risk youth.  The CAST faculty and staff celebrate collaborative relationships with community-based providers that directly serve and advocate for children and youth within the context of their ecosystems. 

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Why Child Advocacy Studies?

Child neglect and abuse are at very high levels in American society, beyond the ability to be solved using only a criminal justice approach.  In order to end the injustices that children suffer, we must use a variety of different interventions.  This minor will introduce you to all of these approaches, and thus prepare you with the necessary knowledge and skills to combat this national epidemic.

What Career Paths Might I Consider?

If you complete a CAST minor, you will learn about how abuse, abandonment and poverty negatively impact young children and youth, and how these harms can be overcome. You will also hone your critical thinking skills and gain a deeper understanding of how to work directly with children and families. In this minor, you will be trained with the skills necessary for careers in child advocacy, including community-based service organizations, law firms, the juvenile justice system, etc.  The knowledge gained in this minor may also help you identify and address the impacts of similar issues in your own life history.

Degree Requirements 

6 Required Courses (18 credits)

(1) CAST 301: Introduction to Child Advocacy Studies (cross-listed as JUST 323)
(2) CAST 302: Psychosocial Advocacy for Developmental Maladjustment
(3) CAST 303: Child Advocacy: Assessment and Evaluation
(4) CAST 304: CAST Internship Seminar*
(5) Elective #1: Drawn from the following list**
(6) Elective #2: Drawn from the following list**

• JUST 318: Gangs in Chicago
• JUST 321: Violence Against Women
• JUST 326: Juvenile Justice System
• JUST 395: Hunger & Homelessness
• PSYC 215: Child Psychology
• PSYC 315: Advanced Child Psychology
• PSYC 320: Adolescent Psychology
• SOC 105: Men, Women and Social Change
• SOC 329: Sociology of Violence
• SOC 332: Sociology of Education
• SOC 340: Sociology of Sexualities
• SOC 358: Sociology of Youth and Youth Culture
• SWK 301: Social Work and the Law
• SWK 307: Child/Adolescent Services
• SWK 308: Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees
• SWK 320: Domestic Violence

*If you are pursuing a major with a related internship requirement, we recommend that you take CAST 304 in the same semester as you do your internship for your major, as you might be able to get one placement to count for both programs.  Specifically, JUST majors should take CAST 304 in the same semester as they take JUST 350, provided they get their internship placement approved in advance by both programs.  To do this, consult with the CAST advisor, Dr. Rachel Birmingham, as well as your JUST 345 and JUST 350 professors.

**One of these electives must be in a department different from your major.

NOTE: The program will accept a maximum of 1 course (3 credits) that has been transferred to NEIU from another college or university towards the minor, subject to approval by the CAST Program advisor, Dr. Rachel Birmingham, who can be reached at 773-442-4709.

You may “double dip” two classes between your major and minor, or between two minors.  In other words, up to two classes can be counted toward to different majors and minors, although in each case, a class so counted will only be worth 3 credits hours toward the total 120 credit hours required for graduation.

Program Contact Information 

For more information about the Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) Minor, please contact Dr. Rachel Birmingham at (773) 442-4709, or by email at

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