Handle with Care

The Northland Handle with Care initiative, built upon the success of other initiatives across the country, improves communication between law enforcement and schools in Clay, Platte and Ray counties.  Law enforcement officers are trained to note when children are present at the scene of a call.  They simply submit only the child’s address in the Handle with Care alert system.  This alert initiates a “Handle with Care” notification to a designated person at the appropriate school district.  School district personnel are trained on the impact of trauma and follow a simple protocol of notifying appropriate staff, providing additional observation and extra support.  No direct action is taken with the child unless warranted.

Prolonged exposure to violence and trauma can seriously weaken the developing brain’s structure and damage the lifelong physical and mental health of an individual.  Youth facing adversity during childhood are at a greater risk for substance use disorders and many other health problems.  Toxic stress undermines a child’s ability to focus, behave appropriately and learn.  This often leads to problems in school, truancy, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Reducing the effects of significant adversity on the developing child is essential.  Research shows that stability, skill building, supportive relationships, and positive experiences are crucial for combating adversity and fostering lifelong success. In most instances, schools are in an opportune position to provide these supports.2

For Youth, Handle with Care just might provide the boost a child needs to overcome life’s hardships or adversity.  For Law Enforcement,  Handle with Care provides an excellent opportunity to buffer the effects of crime, violence, and trauma on area youth and may prevent additional issues down the road. For Schools, these three little words, “Handle with Care,” serve as a gentle reminder that a stable, consistent, nurturing environment or relationship will buffer the impact of stressful life events on area youth.


Resources for Educators:

Our Favorite Toolkits, Guides, and Websites:
Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
Calmer Classrooms– overview of trauma and provides teachers with strategies in the classroom and self-care
Center on the Developing Child
National Child Traumatic Stress Network 

Simple Ideas:
Quick Classroom Exercises to Combat Stress
5 Ways to Help Students in Trauma In Your Classroom
Self-Care Strategies for Teachers
5 Days of Teacher Self Care

Why Schools Need to Be Trauma Informed
Unlocking the Door to Learning: Trauma Informed Classrooms & Transformational Schools
Values for a Trauma-Informed Care Culture in Your Classroom and School
20 Tips to Help De-escalate Interactions with Anxious or Defiant Students
The Trauma of Children of Addicts and Alcoholics
Embedding Mindfulness into your school
Setting the Wheels in Motion – Becoming a Trauma Informed and Trauma Sensitive School
When Students Are Traumatized, Teachers Are Too
7 Ways to Calm a Young Brain in Trauma

Missouri Resources:
Missouri Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative
The Missouri Model: A Developmental Framework for Trauma-Informed

Helpful Websites:
Center on the Developing Child
National Child Traumatic Stress Network 
ACEs Connection
Helping Traumatized Children Learn: A Whole School Approach

How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across a Lifetime / Nadine Burke Harris
Through Our Eyes: Children, Violence, and Trauma-Introduction
Under the Surface (Empathy Film)
Every Child Deserves a Champion – Rita Pierson
Hand Model of the Brain- Dan Siegel

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s NotebookDr. Bruce D.Perry & Maia Szalavitz
Trauma in the Classroom: Uncovering the Truth about Childhood AdversityStacey Sly
 Lost at School: Why our Kids with Behavioral Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help ThemRoss W. Greene
Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma-Sensitive Classroom – Kristen Souers & Pete Hall
The Trauma-Informed School: A Step-by-step Implementation Guide for Administrators and School Personnel Jim Sporleder & Heather T. Forbes
101 Trauma- Informed Interventions: Activities, Exercises and Assignments to Move the Client and Therapy ForwardLinda Curran
Reaching and Teaching Children Who HurtSusan Craig



Resources for Law Enforcement:

Effective Police Responses to Traumatic Stress in Children-Toolkit for Law Enforcement
West Virginia’s Handle with Care Initiative
Frequently Asked Questions about Handle With Care (National Resource)
Center on the Developing Child
National Child Traumatic Stress Network 

For the Northland Handle with Care Law Enforcement video, please contact Laurab@tri-countymhs.org.



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