Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies Minor

The undergraduate education minor in Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies (CMAS) is a minor designed to give students a broad overview of child protection and advocacy including detection, treatment, and prevention of child maltreatment.

The CMAS minor includes course work from several disciplines and helps enhance the professional skills of students planning to work in professions or continue their education in an area that serves and protects children including, but not limited to, counseling, law enforcement, health, research, social work, education, forensic sciences, child welfare, and law.

Students successfully completing the minor will receive formal CAST (Child Advocacy Studies) Certification. CAST is a widely recognized certificate that helps enhance competitiveness for entry-level jobs within child welfare agencies and it is beneficial when applying to a multitude of graduate programs.

Requirements for the Minor

Students are required to complete a total of 18 credits. The core program consists of 12 credits of prescribed courses and students are expected to enhance their specific field of study by taking 6 credits from the supporting courses (for a total of 18 credits). A grade of C or better is required for all courses.

Special Considerations

For this minor CMAS 258 (HD FS 258) is a prerequisite for the prescribed courses. In addition, the supporting courses may have prerequisites.


The CMAS minor is an interdisciplinary minor designed to allow Penn State students majoring in any discipline to engage in the understanding of child protection and well-being. Supporting course selection may be influenced by the experience and educational background of the student in consultation with their academic adviser.


The minor is open to any Penn State student who is enrolled at the University Park campus and who has declared a major field of study (students from any department or college in the University are eligible to apply).

CMAS 258 (HD FS 258) Introduction to Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies (3) Introduction to the multidisciplinary field of child maltreatment.

CMAS 465 (HD FS 465) Child Maltreatment: Prevention and Treatment (3) Advanced examination in approaches for preventing child maltreatment and treating its consequences.
Prerequisite: CMAS 258 (HD FS 258)

CMAS 466 (NURS 466) Systems and Community Responses (3) An exploration of the multidisciplinary response to child maltreatment.
Prerequisite: CMAS 258 (HD FS 258)

CMAS 493 Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies: Capstone Experience (1-3 per semester) This course serves as the capstone experience for students enrolled in the Child Maltreatment and Advocacy minor.
Prerequisite: CMAS 258 (HD FS 258) Concurrent: CMAS 465 (HD FS 465), CMAS 466 (NURS 466)

BBH 146– Introduction to Health and Human Sexuality
BBH 301 – Values and Ethics in the Human Development Professions
BBH 446 – Human Sexuality as a Health Concern

CN ED 422 – Foundations of Addictions Counseling
CN ED 431 – Counseling and Teaching Youth at Risk

CRIM 012 – Criminology
CRIM 422 – Victimization
CRIM 423 – Sexual and Domestic Violence
CRIM 441 – The Juvenile Justice System

ED PSY 010 – Individual Differences and Education

HD FS 129 – Introduction to Human Development and Family Studies
HD FS 229 – Infant and Child Development
HD FS 239 – Adolescent Development
HD FS 432 – Developmental Problems in Childhood and Adolescence
HD FS 453 – Family Participation and Involvement in Child Services
HD FS 455 – Development and Administration of Human Services Programs

NURSING 111 – Nursing roles
NURSING 230 – Introduction to the Fundamentals of Nursing
NURSING 245 – Violence and the Impact on Society
NURSING 409 – Intro to Forensic Nursing

PSYCH 212 – Introduction to Developmental Psychology
PSYCH 243 – Introduction to Well-being and Positive Psychology
PSYCH 270 – Introduction to Abnormal Psychology
PSYCH 410 – Child Development
PSYCH 412 – Adolescence
PSYCH 414 – Social and Personality Development
PSYCH 445 – Forensic Psychology
PSYCH 474 – Psychological Intervention in Childhood
PSYCH 476 – Child Psychopathology
PSYCH 497H – Human Development, Health, and Education from a Global Perspective

RHS 300 – Introduction to Rehabilitation and Human Services
RHS 301 – Introduction to Counseling as a Profession
RHS 400W – Case Management and Communication Skills
RHS 401 – Community Mental Health Practice and Services
RHS 402 – Children and Families in Rehabilitation Settings and Human Services

SOC 005 – Social Problems
SOC 430 – Family in Cross-Cultural Perspective


Additional courses may be acceptable, but need to be approved by the Education Coordinator.

Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies Minor

Internship sites as of July 3, 2018

6th Street Shelter, Allentown
Bethany Children Services, State College/Harrisburg - HOLD
Blair County CAC
Blair County Children, Youth, and Families - HOLD
Bucks County IL
Centre County Youth Service Bureau - JUMP
Centre County Youth Service Bureau - DeCluter
Centre County Youth Service Bureau - Residential
Centre County Child and Youth Services
Children’s Advocacy Center, Scranton
Dauphin County Children and Youth Services
Dauphin County IL
Elywn Children’s Behavioral Health Services, Philadelphia
Healthy Start, Harrisburg
Huntingdon CYS - PENDING
Huntingdon IL - PENDING
Lancaster County CYS
LifeSpan - PENDING
Lycoming County Children and Youth
Kids First - Hollidaysburg
Mifflin County Children and Youth Services
Mifflin County Independent Living
MNMC Children’s Advocacy Center
Nurse Family Partnership, State College
Nurse Family Partnership, Altoona
Orange County Dept. of Social Services, Goshen, NY
Perspective - Restoring and Preserving Families (Peru)
Pinnacle Children’s Advocacy Center, Harrisburg
The Women’s Resource Center, State College
Transforming the Lives of Children Clinic, Harrisburg
United Methodist Home for Children
Various research labs at Penn State
Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY

A child making circles around its eyes, with hands that are covered in multi-colored paint.

Students interested in declaring the minor should contact Cheri McConnell to obtain appropriate information on coursework.

  • Email:
  • Phone: 814-865-2193
  • Office: 202F Henderson Building

Cheri McConnell
Foster Lions Program Coach
202F Henderson Building
University Park, PA 16802

The Fostering Lions Program (FLP) is a support program designed to assist foster youth improve postsecondary education outcomes. The program provides a support services network to former or current foster youth attending college. The program assists foster youth in four key areas:

  1. Financial
  2. Academic and Career Planning
  3. Social/Emotional
  4. Logistic

By decreasing risk factors and increasing protective factors through the support services network, the program aims to increase the students’ educational outcomes, college retention and graduation rates, grade point averages (GPAs), personal societal contributions, and lower public health costs and economic disparity. For further details see the Fostering Lions Program Logic Model below.

Logic model showing financial, academic, social-emotional, and logistical components, risk and protective factors, and proximal and distal outcomes.

Diagram tree showing student, education coordinator, and other resources

Any student who checks box 53 on the FAFSA or self-identifies as falling under the following category

  • were you in foster care since you turned 13
  • or

  • you were in involved with a Fostering Lions Program at a Commonwealth Campus

  • Supper and Seminar Series – workshops monthly during Fall and Spring semester, there will be food and a different topic each month
  • At least one “fun” event planned both Fall and Spring semester
  • Lunch with FLP Coach once a month to stay updated – but free to seek assistance as many times as needed

Visit Penn State’s Financial Aid page for assistance with applying for aid

Visit Penn State’s Undergraduate Admissions page for information on applying, academics, campuses, etc.

Would you like to visit a campus and learn about the Fostering Lions Program?  If so, contact Cheri at 814-865-2193 or and she will make all arrangements needed to get you to the campus of your choice.

What the study is about:

The primary purpose of this study is to learn more about the different ways in which the environment and biology can affect a child’s health. The information we learn will help us to understand more about children, adolescents and their families. We are looking at the ways in which boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 13 have different life experiences based on the different environments they live in and how these experiences shape child development.

How you can become involved:

Research assistant applicants must be self-motivated and reliable. Research assistants will help with data collection, data entry, and coding. Additionally, the assistants will interact with the child and the caregiver on various levels from being the first point of contact for the Center on the day of the visit, escorting families to the Center, facilitating art, science, and nutritional activities revolving around healthy choices as well as helping administer questionnaires on an iPad and paper measures when necessary. Research assistants must be available a few Saturdays per semester for visits. Research assistants must be able to be at the center by 7:30 am on days of scheduled visits.

Eligible undergraduates interested in also gaining medically relevant experience with respect to processing, storing, and transporting biological samples (specifically, blood, urine, saliva), can receive training on these processes as well.

What you need to do to become involved:

Due to the complexity and nature of the study, all members of the research team are required to complete a number of training sessions and clearances and must be able to make a two-semester commitment to the study. That includes the following training sessions:

  • CITI Program Training Course - Protection of Human Research Participants, Social, and Behavioral Human Subject Research Course
  • Biosafety 101 (through EHS)
  • Blood borne Pathogens (through EHS)
  • Lab safety (through EHS)
  • Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse

And the following clearances/background checks:

  • PA Criminal Background Check
  • PA Child Abuse Clearance
  • FBI Clearance

Why become involved:

  • Independent research credit (2 credit min. for 2 semesters)
  • Valuable, cutting edge research experience (volunteer – 2 semesters with a 5 hr/wk min.)
  • Opportunity for a senior honors thesis (based on thesis requirements)
  • CMAS and BBH Internship placement (based on internship requirements)


More information to come on how to become involved.

Application deadlines: March 1 for Summer; April 1 for Fall; November 1 for Spring

Undergraduate Research Assistantship Application (doc)