Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center Announce Partnership to Support Students and Prevent Sexual Abuse
18 June 2018
Partnership Will Include Therapy for Students, Training on Mandated Reporting and Trauma-Informed Student Support, and Community Engagement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 18, 2018
CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (ChicagoCAC) today announced the launch of an extensive partnership to help improve the district’s response, outreach, and prevention of sexual abuse. This partnership will enlist ChicagoCAC’s expertise to play a key role in a collective effort to ensure CPS schools are safe environments for all students.
The collaborative effort to help prevent abuse and better support students builds on the district’s recent commitment to re-check the backgrounds of all adults who work in schools prior to the 2018-19 school year and the comprehensive Plan of Action CPS developed to safeguard students.
“Creating school cultures where student protection is prioritized above all else will take a collaborative effort, and we are grateful for Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center’s partnership in this multi-faceted effort to protect students,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K Jackson. “Our extensive partnership will help create safer and more responsive school environments by training CPS employees on signs of abuse, connecting students with therapeutic resources, and leveraging additional partnerships to help protect Chicago’s students. Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center shares our commitment to improving support for all students, and we look forward to a productive partnership that will have a lasting positive impact on our schools.”
“We’re looking forward to working with CPS to support its comprehensive Plan of Action to help protect Chicago’s students by implementing policies to prevent and respond to instances of sexual abuse. As our City’s first responder to reports of child sexual abuse, ChicagoCAC will leverage our experience and expertise to train CPS staff on preventing and responding to sexual abuse and to ensure students have a safe learning environment.” – Char Rivette, Executive Director, Chicago Children's Advocacy Center
The district’s new partnership with ChicagoCAC will supplement district operations in several areas, all with the goal of creating safer schools and protecting students. Resources that will be provided to CPS include:
Therapy for students. ChicagoCAC will work with CPS to establish a rapid referral process to ChicagoCAC for students who are identified as possible victims of sexual abuse. ChicagoCAC will prioritize linking students to mental health services at the Center or one of its partner mental health providers. ChicagoCAC will also help connect families with staff who can provide case management and advocacy services.
Community Engagement: ChicagoCAC will lead a coalition of community providers who have expertise in trauma-informed care and work within CPS to provide mental health services and training on sexual health education. This coalition will be tasked with forming a more collaborative and comprehensive approach to improving trauma-informed practices at CPS.
Training: In order to train all CPS staff quickly and effectively, ChicagoCAC will combine in-person training with a customized webinar, as well as additional specialized training for CPS social workers, counselors, psychologists, nurses and crisis response team members, among others.
Training for all staff. ChicagoCAC will develop a training curriculum that principals will deliver to their staff that (1) clearly defines sexual abuse and misconduct, (2) reviews warning behaviors of sexual abuse (grooming), and (3) thoroughly explains mandated reporting responsibilities. The training will be customized to CPS’ needs and will include age-appropriate content.
Keeping Children Safe Webinar Training: ChicagoCAC will develop a professional, interactive webinar that includes instruction featuring videos of survivors and an exam that participants will be required to pass to confirm their understanding of their responsibilities to keep children safe.
Crisis response team training: ChicagoCAC will work with CPS to create a customized training for members of the district’s crisis management team about effectively supporting students when sexual abuse is reported. The training is based on recommendations from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
Training for Specialized Positions: ChicagoCAC will provide specialized training for CPS social workers, counselors, psychologists, nurses and others on student recovery following sexual abuse and working with survivors of abuse.
Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) Collaboration: ChicagoCAC will include a representative from CPS on its multi-disciplinary leadership team to foster ongoing collaboration with the district. Multi-disciplinary team members — including representatives from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Chicago Police Department, and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office — will assist CPS with training and response protocols related to abuse allegations.
Plan of Action to Protect Chicago’s Children
Nothing is more important to Chicago Public Schools than the safety and wellbeing of our students, and to ensure CPS is doing everything possible to prevent abuse, the district has developed a comprehensive Plan of Action to protect Chicago’s children.
As CPS works to execute its Plan of Action, the district will be keeping parents updated on a regular basis through a new web page at CPS.edu/ProtectingStudents.
Most importantly, if you suspect abuse, please report it immediately to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at 800-25-ABUSE.
Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
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