Gov. Pritzker tours new DCFS training facility in Chicago

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CHICAGO -- A new Department of Children and Family Services training facility in Chicago may help caseworkers solve problems before they occur.

Governor J.B. Pritzker took a tour of new simulation rooms at the DCFS office in Englewood.

There is a similar facility in Springfield for training case workers, but this is the first of its kind in the Chicago area.

The rooms are meant to be hands on, with trainers acting out real life scenarios, helping case workers and investigators learn the proper techniques when interacting with families in the field.

One of the simulators looks like a living room in a home, the other is a conference room where trainers use step-by-step videos to explain what caseworkers should do if they encounter a number of difficult scenarios.

In Springfield, more than 600 caseworkers have gone through the simulator training center.

Governor Pritzker felt it was time Chicago had a facility of its own as he works to bring more resources to DCFS.

"I was very impressed with the work being done here and I think it's going to help an enormous amount as we bring on new caseworkers.   My budget calls for bringing 126 new caseworkers into DCFS just a beginning of the work we need to do.   Those workers are being hired now and they'll go through a training like this," Governor Pritzker said.

DCFS also has a new director, Marc Harris, who is a former caseworker--and head of Aunt Martha's---a partner family and human services organization.

At the same time, the University of Chicago-Chapin Hall is conducting a six week review of DCFS.

They are about two weeks into that review process.  At the end of it, they will pass along recommendations for policy changes.

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