CAST Program to Act as Pilot Team for SAMHSA Grant

The Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) at Athens State University has received the honor of being chosen as pilot participants for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant. SAMHSA is a research-based organization that provides grant opportunities for programs and research related to, but not limited to, substance abuse and mental health.

The grant will be led by faculty and staff at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and the University of Illinois – Springfield. Indiana University and Culver Stockton College will also be working alongside Athens State on this project.

Dr. Quanda Stevenson, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, will serve as Athens State University’s primary contact person and supervisor. In addition to Dr. Stevenson, the pilot team currently consists of the following individuals:

  • LeTonya Moore, Esq.
  • Lisa Young, M.S. Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice Studies, Child Advocacy Studies (teacher/educator for CAST courses, juvenile and family courses)
  • Lupia Guion, Clinician, M.S. Psychology (child and family therapist, crisis center, teacher/educator for CAST courses, etc. )

The selected participants of this pilot study will be trained in new research, methods, and approaches on how to teach individuals throughout the community about trauma, abuse, and substance abuse.

Project FORECAST (Foundations for Outreach through Experiential Child Advocacy Studies Training) is a five-year grant focused on training undergraduate university students and community professionals in Problem-Based Learning Simulations (PBL-S) to develop Trauma-Informed Experiential Reasoning Skills (TIERS) in a workforce capable and competent at responding to trauma in a manner that promotes resiliency and reduces further trauma. To comply with grant requirements and FORECAST training, the pilot team will attend several conferences and workshops as well as host and collaborate with various colleges, universities, non-profits, courts, and other community programs in order to provide their own workshops and training sessions over the next three to five years.

With this training, Project FORECAST anticipates that over 9,000 higher education students and workforce members will improve their decision-making skills. If each of those trainees interacts with just 20 children and families in a more trauma-informed manner during their careers, FORECAST has the potential to increase trauma-informed care for 180,000 individuals.

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