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Enhancing Child Protection Through New Collaboration

The University of Illinois Springfield Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning is partnering with the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) to establish simulation training to support the implementation of new standards for child protective services. The training will be used by child protection investigative workers to better protect children from abuse.

The UIS team will develop best practices for simulation training to support the workforce that are aligned with the CWLA’s new Standards of Excellence for the Child Protective Services Function.

“Establishing child welfare-related standards of excellence has been a critical part of CWLA’s overall commitment to quality child welfare practice for more than a hundred years,” said Christine James Brown, president and CEO of CWLA.

“This partnership will bring together the evidenced-based practice of simulation training with the research and practitioner-informed approach to standard development by CWLA,” said Betsy Goulet, UIS clinical associate professor and director of the Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning. “The simulation training model will be piloted in partnership with several states, working collaboratively as a team.”

Since 2016, UIS has been a leader in establishing best practices for simulation training. Goulet and other partners created the first statewide simulation training project in the country using a mock residence to simulate child protection investigations and interventions. In 2021, the Illinois Board of Higher Education approved the development of the Alliance for Experiential Problem-Based Learning which expands the use of simulation training and improves critical thinking skills for all frontline home visiting professionals.

UIS will bring nearly seven years’ worth of research and experience to the partnership with CWLA which began in 2018 when leaders met to discuss UIS’ simulation training for child protection investigators. CWLA and UIS have had ongoing conversations over the past few years about how we can partner to advance our shared visions for improved training for child welfare staff.

“These new standards will ensure a stronger, competent, and confident child welfare workforce that can respond in a holistic way to the complex and changing needs of children, families and communities,” said Julie Collins, CWLA vice president of practice excellence.


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