* The SJ-R ran a story this week on safety and de-escalation training for DCFS frontline employees, in the wake of the recent murder of a DCFS worker, and presented conflicting claims which were left up in the air...
[American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch] pointed out that training for [DCFS] workers on threat identification and de-escalation had initially been planned. Management developed training with Illinois State Police and trained trainers but didn’t launch staff training, Lynch said. […]
[William McCaffrey, a spokesperson for DCFS] said de-escalation training is included in safety training that all new hires undergo.
All investigators go through a six weeks “foundations” training, which includes safety as part of it, he said. Once an investigator reports to the field, the investigator continues on-the-job training with his or her supervisor, which includes safety modeling.
Within 90 days of their start date, all investigators are required to complete workplace and field safety training, McCaffrey added.
The agency also has safety reboot training that covers the safety for the child and investigator. The training was put in place and mandatory for all staff in July 2019, he said.
* I reached out to Anders Lindall at Council 31 yesterday and he offered this explanation…
The “foundations” training McCaffrey refers to is online due to COVID. It is only for new hires.
The ISP deescalation training was supposed to be in-person and for everyone. It is now also only on video and only for new hires.
Clearly we are talking about in-person safety-specific training in threat assessment and de-escalation for everyone. That doesn’t exist now.
A real world example: a few years ago in the Cairo office an employee was attacked by an angry mom with a knife. The employee just happened to have come from previously working in IDOC so she had been trained in self-defense tactics.
She covered her heart with her hand and was stabbed in the hand. She turned off the lights and dropped to the floor to make it more difficult for the attacker to get to her until another employee heard and came to her assistance.
Employees need better training and tools to be safe in the field. We have a comprehensive list of such essential measure that we’re seeking. We d a legislative briefing via Zoom with several DCFS employees and members of relevant committees on them last night in fact.
…Adding… Capitol News Illinois…
An emergency housing facility at the center of court case that led to the state’s Department of Children and Family Services director being held in contempt of court was the subject of 161 service calls to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in 2021.
The 12-bed facility is the Southern Thirty Adolescent Center near Mount Vernon. It is run by Lutheran Children and Family Services, and has a $1.9 million contract to house children in DCFS custody aged 11 to 17.
The facility is designed as a temporary shelter, offering children access to educational, mental health and other appropriate services for up to 30 days.
But DCFS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said the average stay there is 107 days.
It’s the same facility where DCFS placed a 13-year-old boy, identified only as C.R.M. in court documents, in emergency custody for months despite a judge’s order to move him to a more appropriate setting. Earlier this month Cook County Judge Patrick T. Murphy cited DCFS Director Marc Smith for contempt for failing to relocate the boy to a therapeutic foster home.