USC Upstate Launches New Minor in Child Advocacy Studies; Hosts Child Advocacy Conference

March 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. — The University of South Carolina Upstate launched a new program of study in the fall of 2010 that is the first of its kind in the state. An interdisciplinary program, the child advocacy studies minor includes 21 credit hours and an internship for arts and science majors.

 “The child advocacy studies minor will be creating more marketable human service graduates, and will allow students to understand healthy child development, identify and respond to child maltreatment and learn the best practices in dealing with victims,” says Dr. Jennifer Parker, professor of psychology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  She adds that the courses are designed to provide hands-on application learning.

 Required courses include Psychology 101, Sociology 101, or Criminal Justice 101 and three core classes in child maltreatment.  The minor offers an optional internship and additional 300 to 400- level courses in Developmental Psychology, Sociology of Families, Child Sexual Exploitation and the Internet and Criminal Trial Practice.

 Internships are available at the Department of Social Services, Children’s Advocacy Center, the Department of Juvenile Justice and various Boys and Girls Homes.

 Parker and Dr. Diane Daane, professor of criminal justice, head up the minor program together with Dr. Stephanie Keen, assistant professor of psychology and Dr. Clif Flynn professor of sociology. Parker encourages psychology, criminology, sociology and human service majors who are interested in serving children to consider the child advocacy program as a minor.

 Parker and Daane were among the few educators selected to participate in National Child Protection Training Center’s (NCPTC) one-week training in Wynona, Minn. just two years ago.

With the assistance of these professors, this specific program was created locally and shaped after the intense training they received from NCPTC.

 Dr. Parker admits, “As a Ph.D. student, I didn’t receive this type of training, so this is exciting for an undergrad to have this extensive training.”

 The program offers graduates marketability, says Parker. Despite hiring freezes at government-run agencies, many professionals are retiring, which will afford greater opportunities for new graduates.

 In addition to offering the minor program, USC Upstate also houses the Center for Child Advocacy Studies. In addition to providing supportive resources to the minor program, the center also addresses the critical needs of the community. A certification program for child advocacy professionals is in development. 

 The center also hosts an annual conference and provides other educational and evidence based training opportunities for a broad range of professionals serving the needs of our children.

 On March 17, the Center for Child Advocacy Studies will host the second annual conference on ending child abuse through advocacy and education.  USC Upstate invites all interested to attend.  For conference registration forms or additional information on continuing education credits, sponsors and more, visit

For further information on the child advocacy minor program or the Child Advocacy Conference, contact Dr. Jennifer Parker at (864) 503-5761 or