The Resilient Clatsop County network announces Handle With Care initiative to support children who experience traumatic events

In partnership with Clatsop County law enforcement agencies and school districts, the Resilient Clatsop County network announces the Handle With Care initiative to support children who experience traumatic events.

“Handle With Care” (HWC) is a national model of collaboration between law enforcement and schools designed to mitigate and prevent the negative effects of exposure to traumatic events. Unaddressed, exposure to traumatic events in childhood, also known as “adverse childhood experiences” (ACEs), can have lifelong impacts on mental and physical health as well as academic and professional success.

Handle With Care helps schools identify children who might need extra support following a traumatic event. How it works: when law enforcement encounters a child at the scene of a traumatic event, the child’s name and three words, “Handle With Care” are communicated to the child’s school before the school bell rings the next day. This enables teachers and school personnel to offer support, rather than discipline to a student. For example, the teacher might provide extra help with coursework, refer the child to the school counselor, be flexible with deadlines and/or delay or reschedule exams or projects. The initiative protects the child’s privacy as no details of the traumatic event are shared with the school.

"I am excited about the HWC initiative because it is such a simple step that law enforcement can take to make teachers and staff at our schools aware that a student may be dealing with or has been exposed to some trauma. In my 29 years of law enforcement, I have responded to or know of issues with a student only to find out it was the same student who was exposed to or experienced a traumatic event that my department just investigated. With the HWC initiative, the staff may have been able to mitigate incidents by watching for signs the student was struggling due to the trauma and get any help they need,” said Mathew J. Workman, Chief of Police, Warrenton Police Department.

“The Jewell School District is excited about the HWC initiative because it builds on our partnership with local law enforcement and ultimately enables us to help our students quicker and more effectively,” commented Stephen W. Phillips, PhD, Superintendent, Jewell School District.

Handle With Care partners include Astoria Police Department, Cannon Beach Police Department, Gearhart Police Department, Seaside Police Department, Oregon State Police, Clatsop County Sheriff’s office, Warrenton Police Department, Astoria School District, Jewell School District, Knappa School District, Seaside School District and Warrenton-Hammond School District.

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About Resilient Clatsop County

Resilient Clatsop County (RCC) is a network that brings together providers and organizations to prevent and heal childhood trauma and build resilience in children 0-18 and their parents. RCC envisions a thriving Clatsop County committed to building resilience in children and families. In the process of identifying strategies to address childhood trauma, RCC prioritized HWC as a simple and effective step to help kids get the support they need after experiencing trauma. For more information, please contact Angel Escobedo at escobedoa@careorgeon.org.

About Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization

Established in September 2012, Columbia Pacific CCO coordinates health services for more than 30,000 Oregon Health Plan members in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties. For more information, please visit www.colpachealth.org.

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