Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
The University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) Child Advocacy Studies Program and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) Social Work Program have joined again in partnership for Project AK-CAST, with the purpose of recruiting interns to serve Tribal victims in Alaska, and training existing professionals to teach, mentor, and support those new to providing victim services in Alaska. The service area for this proposed program includes all outlying areas served by the Distance Learning program at UAF. Grant funds will support continuation of the program, which was first funded by OVC in 2020. The program will build on the strengths of the prior AK-CAST Project, using the UMSL virtual Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) certificate program and the UAF Social Work program and field placement network. The program will focus on recruiting UAF social work students, those in related fields, and community paraprofessionals to a specialized CAST Certificate Program. Interns will participate in paid 200–400-hour internships in supervised victim services field experiences directly serving local AI/AN communities in Alaska. In addition to providing the CAST certificate to a cohort of 10 students, the program will train approximately 10 University of Alaska faculty (in social work and related fields) and community members (currently working in victim services) to use problem-based learning simulations in relevant courses, trainings, and workshops for those working in or interested in working in victim services, specifically child advocacy programs.