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Child Welfare’s 21st-Century Research Agenda: Supporting Safe and Effective Investigations through Training Labs

November 29, 2022 @ 3:00 pm 4:30 pm EST


Child protective services (CPS) can become more effective by investing in a safety culture, where mistakes made by child welfare workers are seen as opportunities to learn and improve. This webinar will discuss efforts to advance safety culture in child protection, including the University of Illinois Springfield’s simulation lab for training investigators. The two training labs, including a mock courtroom, are designed to offer a supportive and safe environment for training students, investigators, law enforcement, and other first responders to identify and respond in cases of child maltreatment.

Webinar participants also will learn about Cook County’s Project CHILD, national demonstration initiative to reduce child abuse and neglect fatalities and injuries through a collaborative, community-based approach. It is funded by the Department of Justice, with technical assistance led by Social Current. In addition, a professional with lived experience will address the importance of well-trained CPS staff.

Effective CPS investigations and contact with families is a component of the 21st-century research agenda for child welfare. It also focuses on equity and the value of lived experience in informing and interpreting research findings.

About the Webinar Series

This webinar is one session in Social Current’s five-part learning series on the 21st-century research agenda for child welfare.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Programs and the William T. Grant Foundation are leading an initiative, along with many partners, to identify research gaps related to community-based family support, child protective services, out-of-home care, and post-permanency services. The initiative is now working to conduct research, rooted in equity and co-designed by people with lived experience, to address these gaps and answer key questions, as well as increase the use of this research in decision making. Learn more about the 21st-century research agenda for child welfare online.


  • Gain insight into safety culture in child protection
  • Reflect on strategies such as simulation labs to improve investigations
  • Learn about what role you can play in carrying out a 21st-century research agenda

Who Should Participate

  • Child welfare professionals including caseworkers, investigators, managers, researchers, and other social sector professionals who interact with the child welfare system



Michael Cull

Associate Professor of Health Management and Policy
College of Public Health
University of Kentucky

Verleaner R. Lane

Project Director
Project CHILD

Gaelin Elmore

Professional Speaker
Gaelin Speaks

Betsy Goulet

Clinical Assistant Professor
University of Illinois Springfield

UIS Child Advocacy Studies Program (CAST)