CAST partners with SKWFS

Staff Writer

While you can learn at lot at a university about CAST (Child Advocacy Studies) from the classes on campus, actually seeing a child advocacy center and talking to the people who work with abused and neglected children brings the lesson home.

Angel Fason is an instructor at Mississippi State University who teaches Human Development and Family Science.

"We brought a lot of students to tour Sally Kate Winters Family Services," Fason said. "We are partnering with them. They do guest lectures and show how the Child Advocacy Center works."
CAST students can intern and volunteer at SKWFS. It is the perfect companion to the classes at MSU.

"Most of my students have a passion for the well-being of children," Fason said. "Sometimes the information is hard to hear, but but they all want to make a difference in the lives of abused children."
So far, Fason said, she has not yet had a student decide they are not cut out for this profession.
"We train through the University of Missouri at St. Louis," Fason said. "They trained us to do problem based learning simulation. Our students work through modules with a hypothetical case."
Fason said they use the hypothetical child in different situations to see if what they are doing is correct. That way no child is impacted while the students learn the proper protocols.

"You can talk about it all day, but for the students to come in and see interview rooms where children are taken here at Sally Kate Winters Family Services," Fason said. "After they are removed from a neglectful or abusive environment it makes it that much more real and shows them what happens next."
Mississippi leads the nation in CAST undergraduate and graduate programs. There are 74 of these programs across the U.S. with 27 of them being in the Magnolia State. Here locally, CAST programs are offered at Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women and East Mississippi Community College. The purpose of the CAST programs are to educate students and future professionals in a variety of fields on how to address child maltreatment, which includes physical and sexual abuse, as well as sex trafficking.