This document addresses efforts to prevent child abuse and neglect in three Illinois counties, and is divided into the following sections: an executive summary; a description of simulation training at the University of Illinois, Springfield; Project CHILD needs assessment; the Cook County health overview of the planning phase; Project CHILD background and products; Child Safety Forward evaluation plan; Child Safety Forward communications strategies; Department of Child and Family Services case incidence in select Illinois counties; information from partners/SIMS training; Hoyleton Rapid Response Team training; EverThrive Illinois overview; Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center; Be Strong Families/Safety for Children 0-5; and public awareness campaigns.
This document reports on a project that aims to identify the gaps and barriers to current approaches, policies, and procedures that exist to address child abuse and neglect ages three years and younger, in three specific Illinois counties, in order to determine what prevention and intervention strategies work best for families in that area, and ultimately, to decrease the number of child fatalities, near fatalities, and recurring child injuries caused by child abuse and neglect in those three counties. The project focused on two separate demographic groups in three Illinois counties: urban families in Cook County, and in central Illinois, Vermillion and Peoria counties. The document discusses project goals and lists the desired information to gain from community data collection. Lessons learned from key stakeholders, weekly meetings, and additional meetings and communications from semi-structured interviews held via Zoom and phone are also presented in the document, and it addresses further learnings from parents to identify the protective factors that those families had that project staff could build on for addressing child safety and the overall project procedures. Among the key lessons learned was the importance of parent engagement. Other lessons learned are discussed in the retrospective data review and information gathering from the op-eds. The authors plan to publish their evaluation of sudden unexpected infant deaths in Cook County in a peer-reviewed journal. The authors list challenges such as working during the Covid-19 pandemic and the acquisition of Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) data.