Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA) at NIU

Located in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences within NIU College of Health and Human Sciences, the DCFS Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA) at NIU partnership provides training to child welfare workers through classroom and engaged learning experiences. With multiple simulation environments in Wirtz Hall and Grant Towers, the academy offers participants immersive professional development. Facilities include:

  • Two living environments designed to illustrate risk and safety factors encountered in child welfare investigations
  • A mock courtroom to support simulation related to courtroom testimony by child welfare workers
  • A mock medical provider office to promote learning about medical assessments as part of child welfare investigations

Participants benefit from our location in DeKalb, which is within driving distance of much of north central Illinois, as well as convenient overnight accommodations at our campus Hotel at Holmes.

For more information, contact Matthew Outzen, DCFS CPTA-NIU logistics coordinator, at

Meet the DCFS-CPTA-NIU Team

Additional DCFS CPTA Locations

The DCFS CPTA-NIU is one of two such simulators contracted in partnership with various public universities by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (IDCFS) to increase training opportunities for child welfare workers across the state. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work manages the DCFS-CTPA-UIUC in Chicago, and two additional academies will be launched at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Illinois State University in Bloomington. These academies are part of the DCFS’ response to Public Act 99-348 which requires simulation experiences for DCFS staff. The expansion will provide greater access for DCFS employees across the state.


NIU Child Protection Training Academy (CPTA)
Matthew Outzen, NIU CPTA logistics coordinator

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