Collaborative Problem Solving Training

The Collaborative Problem Solving (CPST) Model is a model created by Dr. James Ablon. This training has been implemented on the Behavioral Health and Welfare Program’s Comprehensive Assessment and Treatment Unit (CATU) Hospital unit. All staff have received tier I training in the CPST model. The training model can also be used for residential units throughout the state.


Focusing on:

  • Providing an in-depth exposure to both the assessment and intervention components of the model.
  • Practicing drilling down to identify specific triggers.
  • Practicing identifying the specific cognitive skill deficits contributing to challenging behavior.
  • Learning how to solve problems and train skills using the collaborative problem solving process.
  • Distinguishing between direct (explicit) and indirect (implicit) skills training and knowing when each approach is required.

Additional Topics Include:

  • Troubleshooting Plan B.
  • Strategies for when a child refuses or has difficulty expressing his/her concerns.
  • Dealing with common resistances to the approach.
  • Troubleshooting other barriers to implementation such as integrating with other models in schools such as Positive Behavioral Supports.
  • Opportunities for continued learning and networking. 

 To understand trauma related behavior,


Applied Services Research and Evaluation Program

Director, Christine Davidson, PhD

The Applied Services Research and Evaluation Program (ASREP) assists DCFS and its provider agencies in developing continuous quality improvement (CQI) initiatives and data-based managerial tools for use in service monitoring, service capacity planning and performance-based provider contracting. The ASREP works directly with DCFS and the other BHWP programs to identify, collect and utilize data concerning the problems and needs of wards with serious emotional and behavioral disorders; the mental health, placement and social services these wards receive; and the clinical outcomes of those services. Specific projects include:
  • The Placement Project. The ASREP designed and maintains a placement database to monitor the placement referral process integrating bed availability and utilization data for residential, specialized foster care, adolescent foster care, teen parenting network, and transitional/independent living programs.
  • The Psychiatric Hospital Project. The ASREP developed an information system to track hospitalized wards and to prepare progress reports pertaining to the requirements of the BH consent decree. This database has been instrumental in reducing hospitalizations that were longer than necessary due to the lack of an appropriate placement for the child.


Mental Health Policy Program

Director, Ron Davidson, PhD

The Mental Health Policy Program (MHPP) was designed to review the quality of care provided by group homes, residential treatment centers, and psychiatric hospitals serving foster children and to provide technical assistance and consultation, including training and continuing education opportunities, to community agencies that have encountered difficulties working with high-risk populations of DCFS wards or are seeking to enhance the clinical and professional skill-set of their staff. Services provided to community agencies include:

  1. An extensive program evaluation including an assessment of the treatment model, delivery of clinical services, the physical plant and the adequacy of staffing,
  2. Conducting training programs for managerial staff and board of directors,
  3. Designing and helping implement a corrective action plan to address programmatic deficiencies identified in the program evaluation including technical assistance, consultation, and staff training aimed at helping the program develop a more effective model of care, and
  4. Providing consultation aimed at improving treatment planning and therapeutic outcomes with difficult client populations.

To enhance its technical assistance and consultation capacity, the MHPP can engage expertise from the other BHWP programs.

Review Team:

Barbara Fish, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology

Cynthia Petty, APN
Staff Spec in Nursing

Christina Kraemer, LCSW
Psychiatric Social Worker

Forrest Brown, RN
Specialist II Community


Clinical Services in Psychopharmacology

The Clinical Services in Psychopharmacology Program (CSP) provides an independent medication review of psychotropic medication consent requests submitted by care providers who wish to prescribe psychotropic medications to foster children.  Designed to ensure the safety and appropriateness of psychotropic medication for foster children, the CSP monitors the use of psychotropic medications in this population.  The CSP reviews approximately 13,000 psychotropic medication consent requests annually.  In addition to reviewing medication requests, the Clinical Services in Psychopharmacology: 

  1. provides consultation to the DCFS Guardian on particularly challenging youth;
  2. notifies the DCFS Office of the Guardian and Advocacy when local and/or providerpatterns warrant further review and possible remediation;
  3. disseminates information on new pharmaceutical developments and alerts to prescribing physicians who serve DCFS wards;
  4. drafts materials and reviews and comments on DCFS-developed best practice guidelines and administrative rules and procedures governing the management of psychotropic drugs; and
  5. develops training materials and conducts training for foster parents, other care providers, and DCFS-identified staff in management of psychotropic medications.

To learn more, please visit our psychopharm website. 


Michael W. Naylor, M.D.
Director, Behavior Health and Welfare Program 

Alice Gutierrez
Assistant. Director, Clinical Services in Psychopharmacology Program 

Eraina Ross
Coordinator of Clinical andResearch Programs 

Sandra M. George
Staff Specialist in Nursing 

Erin W. Pellett
Research Data Analyst

Amber R. Thompson
Research Data Analyst 

Valerie Santiago
Research Data Analyst 

Lorena Silva
Research Data Analyst 

Khushnaz Ogra
Research Data Analyst 

Nicaya Rapier
Research Data Analyst


Behavioral Health and Welfare Program

In the late 1980s and the early 1990s the Department of Children and Family Services faced legal challenges, including a class action lawsuit, from federal investigators, advocates for children, and the American Civil Liberties Union alleging inadequate and poor quality mental health services for youth in its custody. These challenges were settled through a consent decree in which DCFS agreed to initiate major reforms in the state child welfare system. As part of the consent decree, the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Department of Psychiatry was identified by both DCFS and the plaintiffs as an “independent expert” to help implement the system change efforts, and an innovative collaboration was crafted between UIC and DCFS. Since 1993, DCFS officials and UIC faculty and staff have been working together to improve clinical outcomes for foster children with psychiatric and behavioral disorders resulting in the formation of the Behavioral Health and Welfare Program. The Behavioral Health and Welfare Program consists of four separate projects with distinct but inter-related deliverables.

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