UIS and Illinois DCFS partner to launch Child Protection Training Academy

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SPRINGFIELD – Two organizations are coming together to improve child protection training for investigators of child abuse.

The University of Illinois Springfield Center for State Policy and Leadership is partnering with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to launch a Child Protection Training Academy.

Currently, the academy has already trained nearly 130 new DCFS investigators, utilizing the Residential Simulation Lab and the mock courtroom on the UIS campus. Now, it will expand to include new curricula for supervisors, multidisciplinary team members and a training partnership with the SIU School of Medicine.

Susan Evans is a 24-year veteran of DCFS and the new director of the Academy. She says with a constantly changing landscape and complex cases; investigators need to be well-prepared.

“Training is critical, and the investigators who have completed this new simulation training overwhelmingly expressed a desire for additional hours in the simulation labs, practicing the skulls they will need to be confident and competent in the field,” Evans explains.

The Academy was initially created by the Illinois General Assembly back in August 2015 with Public Act 99-0348.

DCFS Director, George H. Sheldon says this is an exciting step forward in training employees.

“Through this partnership, we’ve made significant progress in reaching the goal of revising the Child Protection Foundation training. The lives of children depend on us, and resources like this training academy will help improve the overall quality of our investigations and better serve the most vulnerable,” Sheldon adds.

In addition to this partnership, the Academy also received two grants.

The first grant will focus on incorporating the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress Core Concepts within Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) curricula in universities across the United States. Meanwhile, the second grant will support a pilot project that brings together organizations to provide better mock courtroom training.

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