Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x3 *** UIS drops out of DCFS simulation training program because state won’t follow its best-practice simulation recommendation
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
*** UPDATED x3 *** UIS drops out of DCFS simulation training program because state won’t follow its best-practice simulation recommendation

Thursday, Aug 11, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Maureen Foertsch McKinney at NPR Illinois

The University of Illinois Springfield has elected to discontinue its contract with the state’s Department of Children and Family Services to offer simulation training for DCFS investigators in a house on campus.

The university decided against renewal of the agreement because the state had not followed its best-practice recommendation that simulation be included throughout a five-week course rather than four and a half days, said Dr. Betsy Goulet, who founded and directs the simulations at UIS and is former DCFS investigator.

”We really think that we could do a much better job if we had them over the course of their foundation training, and we could intersperse the classroom content with the experiences in the SIM lab with different environments and different scenarios,” she said. […]

She said by doing the simulation, “They have a whole different idea of what it’s like to come into somebody’s home and ask difficult questions. I mean, they have to ask parents to take a baby’s clothing off. So they can, you know, see where there might be… you know, marks or bruises.”

“That’s hard to do. As a perfect stranger, you’d you come in and say, well, I need you to take a baby’s clothes off. You know, imagine the stress that comes with doing that. But it’s part of your procedure,” she said. “And so we train them to have those really challenging hard conversations, but we don’t give them enough time to practice. And that’s the frustration.” […]

A spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services said the agency “is deeply committed to simulation training and continues to expand simulation training across the state with new university partners.”

What the heck?

*** UPDATE 1 *** Cook County Public Guardian Charles Golbert

This is a cutting-edge, highly regarded program that has received high marks from investigators, advocates, and academics.

The UIS training academy is a flagship program and a national model. UIS researchers use data from the simulation exercises for research to improve child protection practice. In March, UIS was awarded $720,000 in federal funds to support the training academy. In announcing the funding, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin remarked, “The University of Illinois at Springfield has established itself as a leader in training front line child protection workers and first responders.”

Nine young children have died since December despite DCFS’s extensive involvement with the family. We posted about the most recent child, 3-year-old I’Kera Hill, just this morning. Moreover, investigator safety issues have been prominent in the headlines after the murder of DCFS investigator Deidre Silas during the course of an investigation in January. It’s inexplicable, reckless and irresponsible for DCFS to suddenly discontinue this outstanding, critical resource for training its investigators.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From DCFS Director of Communications Bill McCaffrey…

“These allegations are both wrong and ridiculous, and they denigrate the hard work that has gone into improving and expanding training. In fact, DCFS is so committed to simulation training for child welfare workers that we’ve increased our investment from $320,000 in 2018 to $2.3 million this year so that we can open new hubs across the state and workers can be trained closer to the communities they serve. UIS proposed that they be the sole provider rather than allowing other university partners across the state to provide simulation training for child protection workers. Rather than accepting this demand, DCFS opted to continue to invest in a multi-site, multi-university program.

“Additionally, UIS was on a corrective action plan, including for their failures to hire a pipeline of diverse staff for the actual simulations. This failure posed serious problems for meeting our goals to be equitable and provide inclusive training opportunities. We are moving forward with a new site in Springfield that will meet these needs and provide state-of-the-art training.”

Background

    • New DCFS investigators go through a six week training in order to become certified to conduct child protection investigation. This is primarily classroom based training for four weeks, called “foundations”, followed by a fifth week in the field for on the job training, and a sixth where they conduct simulation training. The first simulation training was developed in collaboration with University of Illinois Springfield and conducted on their campus.
    • In order to meet the statewide needs of investigator training, a new simulation lab was opened in Chicago at a DCFS site on the South side of Chicago. That simulation site is run in collaboration with the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    • DCFS has also expanded to include two additional simulation training sites and university partnerships. One is located at Northern Illinois University and is currently operational and training investigators. The other site is at Southern Illinois University, which is physically completed and will be operational by early 2023 once they are fully staffed and trained.
    • DCFS is currently in the early stages of building out an additional simulation site in Springfield, that like the Chicago site, would be located on DCFS property. It would be staffed by DCFS employed trainers.
    • DCFS has expanded our investment in simulation training from just $320,00 in fiscal year 2018 to $2.3 million in the current fiscal year.

Seems to me, if this is true, that DCFS should’ve said that from the beginning.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Heidi Dalenberg, Managing Legal Director, ACLU IL…

The end of DCFS’ ongoing relationship with the University of Illinois at Springfield to provide simulation training for investigators is depressing and dangerous. It is depressing to see the Department lose access to one of the few contract partners that was making a difference in improving investigations of alleged child abuse.

The Department claims there were issues with UIS’ performance on a “corrective action plan” for diversity – we don’t have knowledge of those circumstances. What we do know, though is that UIS developed the simulation training that Illinois pioneered and that now is viewed as a model worthy of implementation across the country.

It appears that the real schism between DCFS and UIS was that the Department could not accept – and integrate – the well-founded guidance of the UIS experts regarding how training should be delivered in order to be effective under the UIS model program. It may be that DCFS is using new partners for simulation training, but if that training does not track the UIS model, we lose the assurance that we currently have – that the training will be effective.

DCFS’ move is dangerous for children and for DCFS employees. The UIS program helped increase safety for DCFS employees who conduct home visits and the children they are seeking to protect. At a moment when we are all concerned about safety, the expertise and experience offered by this program should be honored and embraced, not truncated and parceled out to different providers.

       

15 Comments
  1. - Yooper in Diaspora - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    Good to see a university push back against the manifold pressure from outside agencies for cheap, fast, easy credentialing. Wish public university leaders would do the same collectively in other areas, instead of handing so much reshaping of higher ed to those (like ISBE) not actually engaged in teaching, scholarship and research in higher ed.


  2. - CentralILCentrist - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    Trust me, it’s worse across the board.
    DCFS, DOC, DHFS, etc. Training is a joke. Even to get approved to engage in training at employee’s own expense is often ignored or denied for arbitrary reasons.


  3. - In the know - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 11:48 am:

    I have been in that house, it’s an amazing setup and hands on training makes sense. The instant feedback given is tremendous.


  4. - JS Mill - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:25 pm:

    I have to engage with DCFS all of the time in my role as an educator. I am embarrassed to say that I know nothing about their training. It strikes me as something that should be obvious to all that their training should be conducted at the exemplar level.

    Given my experiences, it is obvious this isn’t happening.

    I am hoping that the governor’s office will correct this obvious mistake and take up UIS and their process as the training “norm”.


  5. - Sangamo Girl - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    But we need butts in seats. How can we know what they are doing without butts in seats?


  6. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 3:12 pm:

    Does this include simulation of a contempt citation?


  7. - OneMan - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 3:18 pm:

    === New DCFS investigators go through a six week training in order to become certified to conduct child protection investigation. This is primarily classroom based training for four weeks, called “foundations”, followed by a fifth week in the field for on the job training, and a sixth where they conduct simulation training. ==

    Is it me or does 6 weeks seem kind of short four training someone to do this with only 1 week ‘in the field’.


  8. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 3:27 pm:

    Note to JB: Love what you’ve done in managing our statewide finances, but can’t believe the ineptitude routinely found in the agencies. Please get some talent on board able to run this State operationally…Please…


  9. - Baloneymous - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 3:31 pm:

    If UIS was on a corrective action plan and didn’t mention it, then maybe that’s partly why they ended it or are mad about it and went public. For UIS to say they declined a contract renewal, that’s shady too if it’s because they couldn’t deliver the goods and/or didn’t want to share the $2.3 million pie. What a way for two state entities to start an unnecessary PR issue. Please do better.


  10. - Consultant101 - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    If UIS was on a corrective action plan, I would like DCFS to provide a link or document to Rich to prove it. Transparency is easy on this one.

    Side A (DCFS), Side B (UIS), and I bet the truth is somewhere in the middle.


  11. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Aug 11, 22 @ 5:48 pm:

    So it seems there were … issues… at UIS.

    In Springfield, I’d look at giving the simulation contract to the Urban League; they have a longstanding partnership with the state already for training.


  12. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Aug 12, 22 @ 2:47 am:

    ===Is it me or does 6 weeks seem kind of short four training someone to do this with only 1 week ‘in the field’. ===

    Customer service representatives at cable companies get more training than DCFS employees do during their respective new hire process.

    ===DCFS is currently in the early stages of building out an additional simulation site in Springfield, that like the Chicago site, would be located on DCFS property. It would be staffed by DCFS employed trainers.===

    I wonder if the agency is aware of the fact that the public doesn’t really find a statement like this comforting. Where did these DCFS employed trainers get their training?


  13. - Just Sayin - Friday, Aug 12, 22 @ 8:11 am:

    ==DCFS is currently in the early stages of building out an additional simulation site in Springfield, that like the Chicago site, would be located on DCFS property==

    Anyone know where exactly in Springfield this is located? Just curious.


  14. - Here to Help - Friday, Aug 12, 22 @ 8:22 am:

    - Additionally, UIS was on a corrective action plan, including for their failures to hire a pipeline of diverse staff for the actual simulations.-

    If UIS was doing a good job, who cares about this nonsense? The should tend to the 2×4 in their own eye first.


  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Aug 12, 22 @ 9:02 am:

    ===If UIS was doing a good job, who cares about this nonsense? ===

    Part of the job was to have more diversity in its training. That comment of yours says more about you than you may realize.


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Debate open thread
* Gannett confirms it's printing Proft's papers
* Question of the day
* Fun with numbers
* Campaign notebook
* Pritzker talks pensions
* SAFE-T Act coverage roundup
* Greising vs. Proft
* Debate preview
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Because... Madigan!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* Open thread
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Loading


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0




Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller