Governor JB Pritzker Announces Third DCFS Simulation Training Center On SIU Carbondale Campus

Feb 27, 2020

Governor JB Pritzker joined SIU and child welfare leaders on the Carbondale campus Thursday to announce the state's third DCFS Simulation Training Center - this one will be located on the Carbondale campus.

It’s been almost a year since Governor JB Pritzker ordered a review of the Intact Family Services division of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The governor pledged to overhaul the division after the review showed systemic issues including communication, training and staffing.

The Governor's FY 2020 budget provided funding to hire 300 more workers.

“While we are certainly increasing our staffing at DCFS, what we’re aiming to do is have the best trained staff in the nation.”

The University of Illinois Springfield opened the first simulation training center in 2016 to train caseworkers and investigators to identify abused and neglected children in simulated real-life encounters.

A second simulation lab opened in Cook County in the Spring of 2019 and a now there are plans for a third.

“I’m very proud to announce the partnership with SIU Carbondale to spearhead a new Southern Illinois simulation lab.”

DCFS Acting Director Marc Smith says some of the changes being implemented are required yearly safety training for all employees focused on safety.

“Since the beginning of June 91% of our staff, which is more than 2,800 staff have gone through a 2-day safety training.”

The Governor proposed an additional $147 million dollars for DCFS in his FY 2021 budget to allow the department to hire over 100 more staff.