Training crucial to real-life work

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-SPRINGFIELD (WCIA) -- UIS students, interested in protecting children, are getting a front row seat to a day on the job.

Wednesday, a national organization training professionals in the field stopped on campus. They're showing students the best way to respond to a child abuse call. It's part of an initiative to better prepare future workers.

"Don't let him hurt me."

A mother in sheer panic, but don't be alarmed. This is an inside look at a mock crime scene. Professionals are practicing how to respond to a child abuse call.

"It's very intense. It's something you're never prepared for."

Marlene Constant is the only student on the team. She's playing a forensic investigator. Together, they're tyring to find out what went wrong here.

"It was a little surprising, but you really have to be confident of what's going on around you from the temperature of the room to the smells."

The place is filthy with trash, spoiled food and blood nearly everywhere you look. But, this is an average day on the job.

"This is a very important job, but it's very, very difficult, but with the right training, people can do this and they can feel confident in the work that they do."

Betsey Goulet teaches child advocacy studies at UIS. She will be watching all this play out by video in class.

"Hopefully, their experiences in the house have given them a much better sense when they knock on that door."

She says this will help students prepare for jobs in child welfare and law enforcement. Constant agrees and she's ready for the real world.

"It'll help me to understand and pick up on some warning signs taht I can be on the lookout for."

The group which put on the program is Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.

DCFS' new hires and students at UIS also use the home for hands-on training. They say this type of practice will help attract candidates and keep them in their roles.

Last year, DCFS peaked in job openings. More than half its positions were empty. But, now they're happy to report numbers are up.

This month, they changed eligibility requirements for several positions include case and social workers. Right now, the Urbana office only has one vacancy, Decatur has zero and Springfield has two.


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