VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota School of Health Sciences will offer a new, online graduate-level certificate in child and adult advocacy studies. Those who earn the certificate will learn about the various factors that lead to child and adult maltreatment, and they will be better equipped to advocate for children and adults who have experienced trauma.
Students will develop multidisciplinary approaches to working cooperatively within and across various agencies, organizations, institutions and networks to address abuse issues and cases.
In addition to graduate-level students at USD, the certificate program can benefit practicing health care professionals, child protection advocates, attorneys and law enforcement personnel.
The certificate program was developed by Kelly Bass, D.S.W., an associate professor and program director in the Department of Social Work and Shana Cerny, O.T.D., an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, in conjunction with the Center for the Prevention of Child Maltreatment, an interprofessional center housed in the School of Health Sciences that develops and sponsors initiatives and programs aimed at reducing the maltreatment of children in South Dakota.
“USD is meeting South Dakota’s needs by preparing professionals for the realities of preventing and responding to maltreatment," said Cerny. "These professionals will become leaders within our rural, tribal and urban communities by advocating on behalf of the victims and survivors of maltreatment and by engaging in creative solution-building regarding matters of maltreatment in their communities.”
The certificate – the first of its type in the upper Midwest region – will be available January 2021.