Training and Education on Maltreatment

Serving people who have been abused or neglected requires the knowledge to recognize the signs of maltreatment, understand how to interact with victims and their families, and coordinate with a wide array of disciplines who intervene when someone has been victimized. Both students preparing to enter human service careers and professionals already working with victims need quality education and training on maltreatment, which is lacking across the country. The Children and Family Research Center (CFRC) has been conducting program evaluations and other research to support initiatives providing education and training to improve services for maltreatment victims and their families. In February 2016, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) collaborated with a team from the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) to implement the Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA) that provided simulation training in which child welfare professionals work with a mock family in a mock residence and mock courtroom, to simulate child protection investigations and interventions. CFRC’s simulation training evaluation team has produced an array of reports, research briefs, presentations and articles about the CPTA program. In 2022, CFRC also begun to evaluate simulation training conducted by the Illinois Department on Aging, designed to improve the response to abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of adults age 60 or older and adults age 18-59 with disabilities.

In addition, CFRC conducted an evaluation of Mississippi’s Child Advocacy Studies Training (CAST) Program. CAST is a national program that has helped implement specialized courses and certificate or minor programs on child maltreatment in dozens of undergraduate and graduate schools across the country. Mississippi implemented CAST courses and minor and certificate program in colleges and universities throughout the state. CFRC collected data from hundreds of CAST students across the state, and reported on CAST students’ experience of the program and its impact on their preparation to service child victims and their families. CFRC has produced a program evaluation report about Mississippi’s CAST Initiative as well as other publications about CAST.

CFRC began evaluating two new training initiatives in 2022. The Night Before program provides training to Illinois public school teachers to help them respond effectively to students in their classrooms who have experienced trauma. The Multidisciplinary Team Simulation Training Pilot combines simulation training for professionals working on multidisciplinary teams in Children’s Advocacy Centers and simulation training for university students to model the MDT response to child maltreatment.

Video: CFRC's Dr. Ted Cross Talks With Dr. Betsy Goulet About the Child Protection Training Academy's Simulation Training

Recorded on October 6th, 2020 via Zoom