The Alliance collaborates with many incredible partners across the nation to build experiential learning courses and workshops that improve the well-being of children and families. In order to build stronger communities, our mission is to engage as many interdisciplinary public servants providing services to our families, including mandated reporters and other essential professionals who make home visits. The Alliance strongly believes in promoting professional understanding of child maltreatment in order to improve interdisciplinary communication.

Each of our experiential courses include five core competencies: Problem-Based Learning, trauma responsive care, individual wellness, improving professional communication and the Science of Hope. The emphasis on trauma responsiveness and problem-based learning improves critical decision making and reduces bias.

The Alliance customizes each workshop based on individual needs.

Our Partners and Projects

Child Welfare League of America

The Alliance will develop national standards for simulation training that align with the new CWLA standards for child and family well-being.  This five-year partnership will assist interested states, territories, counties, or other service providers implement simulation learning into their programs. 

Department of Children and Family Services (IDCFS)

Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA)

The Child Protection Training Academy on the UIS campus was the first statewide simulation training project in the country that provided a child protection training laboratory for frontline professionals and students. University faculty worked with the Department of Children and Family Services, Illinois Court-Appointed Special Advocates, law enforcement, domestic violence advocates and other frontline professionals to develop new and innovative training curricula that utilized a realistic environment. This project ended July 1, 2022.

Supervisor Training

This virtual workshop focused on developing problem-based learning skills for administrators across the state who supervise child protection investigators. 

Department on Aging (IDOA)

This partnership focused on adapting our expertise in child protection investigation simulations to adult protection investigations. UIS provided curriculum and facilitation skill development for IDOA staff with an emphasis on using problem-based learning and providing feedback to participants. IDOA trainers then utilized UIS simulation environment in a hybrid virtual model to provide simulations to their newly hired adult protection caseworkers. 

Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)

The Night Before – Disciplinary Equity

This partnership aims to assist school personnel’s interactions with at-risk children and better address disciplinary equity.  The partnership included multiple collaborators from Loyola and Berkley, resulting in a tiered application to the schools most in need. Once the projects were launched, more schools began asking for The Night Before, and the expansion resulted in a stand-alone workshop for School Resource Officers. The SRO course provides law enforcement partners with 7 hours of continuing education. 

Project HOPE (McKinney Vento) - April’s Story 

This workshop developed for homeless and foster care liaisons provides a glimpse into the experience of a family who was unhoused through April’s story.  Participants apply problem-based learning and the 12 Core Concepts for Understanding Traumatic Stress Response in Children and Families as they process April’s family’s experiences. 

ACF Multidisciplinary Team Simulation Training

In collaboration with Illinois Children’s Advocacy Centers, professionals from various disciplines interact in a realistic environment to improve their collaboration strategies. This partnership focuses on essential information gathering and communication between professional disciplines working together on cases of complex child maltreatment. Participants include representatives from law enforcement, child protection, forensic interviewers, medical professionals, prosecutors, mental health providers, and advocates. 

Illinois Association of Community Action Agencies (IACAA)

Family and Community Development Specialist 

The UIS Alliance team supplements key areas of this certification workshop covering areas of client engagement, assessment and interviewing skills, and cultural competencies. Utilizing scenarios participants use problem-based learning as they build on skills.  This workshop is offered in-person and virtually. 


This partnership was established to develop the soft skills of home energy auditors. During simulations, participants practiced engaging and being present with clients while both juggling the requirements of the energy audit with identifying safety concerns in/for the families. Additionally, participants were provided with educational resources on a variety of social issues. 

Mandated Reporter - Head Start

This presentation for Head Start staff focused on roles, responsibilities, and rights of mandated reporters. Participants learned about what happens after a report is made, the various responses and outcomes and what mandated reporters can expect after making a report. 

Mississippi Child Advocacy Studies (CAST)

This partnership with Mississippi Children’s Advocacy Centers built child protection educational curriculum and interdisciplinary simulations for the CAST programs at Mississippi College and the University of Mississippi. Utilizing interactive simulations, professors from legal, medical, criminal justice, and social work programs are able improve educational outcomes and increase resources for students in each discipline

Private Agencies – DCFS Purchase of Service Agencies

Private DCFS agencies sought supplemental simulation workshop for caseworkers which focused on areas of needed improvement as identified by their leadership. Simulations focused building engagement skills around difficult conversations with clients on subjects such as: assessing safety in the moment, substance misuse, new paramour involvement, domestic violence, negative evaluation of service plan goals, and testifying in court. 

Sangamon County Health Department

This partnership will provided home visitors an experiential learning opportunity in a realistic home-based encounter.  It focused on building engagement skills with clients while having difficult conversations around children’s health and safety in the home.

West 40

This partnership aims to develop a Trauma Certificate and stipends for students to provide mental health support positions in schools.

Illinois Child Death Investigation Task Force

This multi-disciplinary team partnership provided experiential learning for the CDITF in Southern Illinois. Task Force members representing law enforcement, child protection, corners, pathologist, and prosecutors interact in a realistic setting as they build relationships and team communication skills.