“I get to help [new investigators], critique them, and try to make them the best witnesses they can be, so they can give the judge in these type of hearings the information they need to make the right decision.” – Retired Judge, Illinois
Onsite, in-person simulation supports powerful interactions and experiential learning that feels real.
Simulation environments—whether a rented house, an auditorium stage, or a hotel room—are typically filled with objects that evoke a child welfare worker’s experience.
Settings can be tailored to the surrounding communities.
The roles of families and community partners may be played by actors, trainers, medical professionals, former or current judges and attorneys, or others who respond to verbal and nonverbal communication.
Watch “Home Environment” to learn more about creating realistic home settings.
Simulation Training: Home Environment
“There are little safety hazards that maybe people wouldn’t think about, things like plastic bags in the reach of a small child or pill bottles that a child might be able to get into, things like that that make it really real.” – Simulation Facilitator, University of Illinois Springfield
Debriefing and receiving feedback are a critical part of the simulation learning experience. During an onsite debrief, trainers and participants can stop and examine what is happening at key moments:
How did the family member respond to the investigator’s energy or an inadvertent eye roll?
Did something in the environment serve as a trigger to the participant?
Did the participant miss important questions?
Watch “Debriefing and Feedback” to learn more.
Simulation Training: Debriefing and Feedback
“To be able to point out, when you said that, you got a reaction from the family that maybe you weren’t as cued into …. Being able to connect the dots in the moment, I think that’s why the debrief and feedback are so important.” – Director, Child Protection Training Academy
This site features videos and interviews with representatives from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Child Protection Training Academy at the University of Illinois at Springfield, the Children and Family Research Center, and simulation training actors and community professionals. (Find out more about the Illinois simulation training program and its evaluation)
The need for training continues across child welfare, but students and new caseworkers still can benefit from practicing the skills required for casework after their classroom sessions have ended. This podcast discusses a virtual reality-based home visiting training currently being used by the university's B.S.W. students —Virtual Home Simulation (VHS))— which was developed by the University of Utah College of Social Work in partnership with the university's games and applications lab
In FY 2015 the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services partnered with the University of Illinois Springfield to develop the Child Protection Training Academy in order to redesign the six-week classroom training for new investigators and create an experiential component. This paper chronicles the goals of the partnership and the planning and implementation of the Academy.