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Potential new DCFS training center at SIU Carbondale

CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- Governor J.B. Pritzker visited Carbondale and took to the podium to discuss how to improve the Department of Children and Family Services.

He says, "It's about changing the policies and procedures and making sure we have training for all of our front line workers."

Governor Pritzker's administration is partnering with SIU Carbondale to make a simulation training center in Carbondale.

The labs give caseworkers hands-on-training with real-world situations. That training allows caseworkers to learn how they can better protect some of the state's most vulnerable children.

Interim Chancellor, John M. Dunn says it takes a team effort to make a positive impact.

He says," We want to make sure that the various parties, prior experience, and others who have good background in this."

ACLU of Illinois sends us a statement regrading the new labs.

"The expansion of DCFS’ training lab approach for investigators is a positive step in preparing them for the difficult work of interacting with families across Illinois. But even the best trained investigators cannot do good work unless they have a reasonable caseload once they leave training. Change will come for DCFS when every DCFS employee, from line investigators to the top of the Department, makes it their job to focus on the children they are dedicated to serve and then problem-solve to get those children what they need as individuals.  Training enhancements are a small start in that direction, but cannot by itself accomplish, the fundamental sea change that DCFS needs to make" - Heidi Dalenberg, Director of Institutional Reform, ACLU of Illinois.

Governor Pritizker agrees, saying, "There is no chance that one simulation lab or three or four is going to change everything about DCFS. It is one component of so many things we need to change."

Keri Clark the Director of Juvenile Programs for Union County tells us the program is much needed for southern Illinois.

She explains, "It allows us the opportunity to work collaboratively which people in the industry are now doing."

Governor Pritzker's spokesperson, Jordan Abudayyeh, claims the funding for the lab at SIUC would be more than $400,000.

Pritzker added, "so it doesn't take enormous amount of resources to turn that lab. It takes people!"

The governor did not announce an exact location of the simulation training center, other than it would be on the SIU Carbondale campus.

Fahima Paghmani

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