CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has unveiled a new simulation center in Englewood, designed to provide upgraded training for case workers and investigators, who will get a chance to use the new simulation center for the first time on Tuesday.
Previously, those workers had to travel to Springfield for this portion of their training, to run through different scenarios of what could happen when they’re out on a case
Gov. JB Pritzker toured the new facility at the Illinois DCFS offices at 62nd and Emerald on Monday.
“This is all part of an effort by DCFS and by my administration to upgrade the training; and make sure we’re bringing the best case workers, the best-trained case workers and investigators, to the forefront to operate going forward,” Pritzker said.
The simulation center has several rooms that mimic different environments – such as a family’s living room, or a medical room – where case workers and investigators can prepare for the real setting, and train on how to talk to children or parents in a hostile environment.
Pritzker ordered an independent review of DCFS last month, and nominated a new executive director. The department’s inspector general found 98 children under the care of DCFS have died in the last two years.
The governor wants to see major changes at DCFS, and is looking to bring in more case workers.
“There are not enough case workers there; overloaded with cases. There are some that need new training; many that never got any real training except they got thrown out in the field,” he said.
Pritzker said recommendations from the independent review he ordered will come in on a rolling basis. His office has not received any recommendations yet.