Christine Speiser Post Graduate Social Work Fellowship in Child Protection

For more than 20 years, the Protective Services Team social workers at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago have played a critical role in the intervention and assessment of children and families when there is a concern for child maltreatment. This multidisciplinary team is composed of social workers, board certified child abuse pediatricians and advanced nurse practitioners who collaborate on each case in order for the child abuse pediatrician to make an informed decision regarding the concern for child maltreatment.  

The role of the Protective Services Team (PST) social worker is includes acting as a clinician, and advocate and a collaborator. It is the psychosocial assessment for abuse completed by the social worker that the medical team and protective services team count on to paint a clear picture of the social environment of the child. In addition, it is the PST social worker who facilitates communication between the medical team and involved community agencies with child safety as the primary goal.

While issues of child maltreatment are seen across the spectrum of social work practice, many social workers graduate from master’s programs with little direct training or experience of what is best practice when working with this population. 

The Protective Services Team at Lurie Children’s is offering a two-year postgraduate social work fellowship dedicated to the education and training of social work professionals who are interested in serving children and families where there is concern for child maltreatment. This fellowship provides intensive and comprehensive training by our Protective Services Team.

The Protective Services Team is seeking an exceptional social worker who demonstrates passion to work on a multidisciplinary team in the assessment and advocacy of all cases referred due to concern for child maltreatment. The applicant should have a pronounced interest in child maltreatment cases as well as an ability to work in the fast-paced hospital (and Emergency Department) setting. The goal of this fellowship is to produce social workers who will become leaders in this field.

The child protection social work fellow position falls under the Department of Family Services. The fellow will closely work with members of the Protective Services Team in the Division of Child Abuse Pediatrics. He/she will be trained to complete thorough inpatient and emergency room psychosocial assessments whenever there is concern for any form of child maltreatment. We will provide the fellow with ongoing clinical supervision by licensed clinical social workers with extensive child welfare expertise.

The program is greatly enriched by multidisciplinary partners. This includes shadowing and collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, Cook County Juvenile Court, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, the Chicago Police Department, and other groups concerned with education, community outreach, and advocacy.

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Activities of the fellow will include:

  1. The clinical assessment of child maltreatment using Lurie Children’s psychosocial assessment tool in the setting of the Emergency Department, inpatient units and outpatient clinics.
  2. Collaboration with the Protective Services Team social workers, physicians, and community agencies.
  3. Weekly clinical supervision by a LCSW social work expert in child maltreatment, primarily the PST clinical coordinator.
  4. Presentation of clinical cases in twice monthly Multidisciplinary Team Meeting involving Lurie Children’s medical team, DCFS, law enforcement and family advocates.
  5. As part of the clinical assessment, the fellow will attend the twice monthly Child and Adolescent Psychiatry meeting and identify mental health needs and services for victims of trauma.
  6. Observation of court proceedings (both juvenile court and criminal court) in which the Protective Services Team members are testifying.
  7. Community training in the assessment of child maltreatment in social work practice.
  8. Planning and facilitation of a multi-session community training course, to take place during the second year, trainings in the assessment of child maltreatment to social workers outside of Lurie Children’s.
  9. Attendance of local and national conferences specific to child maltreatment
  10. The social work fellow will work 40 hours per week which includes one Thursday overnight on-call shift. The fellow will also work a holiday on-call shift.

The primary objective of the postgraduate fellowship is to provide two years of intensive specialized training for exceptional social workers wishing to gain knowledge and skill in the field of child maltreatment. At the completion of both the first and second year training period, the fellow’s progress toward this objective will be evaluated through his or her ability to:

  • Demonstrate expertise in the clinical evaluation of child maltreatment through the psychosocial assessment of physical abuse, sexual abuse, failure to thrive, medical neglect and caregiver fabricated illness of a child. This goal is evaluated through weekly clinical supervision, review of documentation for quality, accuracy, and consistency, and quality of case presentation at multidisciplinary team meetings.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform community trainings on child physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect to increase proficiency of child maltreatment assessment and intervention among area professionals. This goal is evaluated by participant evaluation forms and clinical supervisor feedback.

Community Training Program

The fellow will refine and facilitate a community training program that will take place during the fall of the second year. The training will educate social workers from hospitals, schools, mental health centers and others settings, in how to assess different kinds of child abuse and neglect in coordination with current PST research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is Lurie Children’s?

A: Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is located at 225 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.

Q: What is the Protective Services Team?

A: The Protective Services Team (PST) at Lurie Children's Hospital assesses approximately 700 cases of child maltreatment per year. The team consists of board certified child abuse pediatricians, the child abuse physician fellow, the social work clinical coordinator (and clinical supervisor of the SW fellow) as well as six other emergency room/PST social workers.

Q: What does a Protective Services Team social worker do?

A: Social workers have a critical role in the assessment and intervention of child abuse and neglect. The Protective Services Team physicians as well as the medical team, relies almost on the assessment of the social worker to paint a clear picture of the social environment of the child, in order to make an informed decision about whether or not there is concern for child maltreatment. In addition, the medical team and PST rely on the social worker to advocate and navigate if/when DCFS and law enforcement become involved.

Q: Would I have an opportunity to meet with a staff person at some time during the application process?

A: After reviewing the applications, the Protective Services Team clinical coordinator, social work managers and other senior social workers will interview selected applicants. Six to eight applicants will be invited to participate in a phone interview and three to four applicants will be invited (at applicant’s expense) to participate in an in person interview.

Q: Do I need my Illinois social work licensure (LSW) before I apply?

A: Fellows MUST have their Illinois licensure (LSW or LCSW) by the start date of the fellowship (July 2016). You do not need to have the licensure to apply.

Q: How long is the fellowship?

A: This is a two-year fellowship, including both clinical duties and the comprehensive community training on child maltreatment.

Q: What other benefits are included in the fellowship?

A: In addition to the yearly stipend, the fellow will be entitled to other benefits available to hospital employees, including health insurance and paid vacation time. The fellow will also be provided with a yearly education allowance to participate in, and travel to, educational conferences related to child maltreatment.

Q: What days/hours will the fellow work?

A: The Child Protection social work fellow will work full time (40 hours per week) including one weekday overnight (Thursday) in the Emergency Department. The fellow will have two consecutive days off every week. The fellow will work a holiday on-call shift.

Q: If I am chosen as the fellow, what kind of orientation and supervision will I receive?

A: The fellow will receive a comprehensive orientation to the hospital system, Protective Services Team and social work department. The Protective Services Team will provide intensive clinical training in the assessment and intervention of child maltreatment. The fellow will be provided with daily clinical supervision by the clinical coordinator of the Protective Services Team.

Please address any questions to: 

Tierney Stutz, LCSW
Clinical Coordinator, Protective Services Team
Protective Servcies Team and Emergency Department Social Worker
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Pager 73862 l T 312.227.3862 | F 312.227.9608 |
225 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611-2605