FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW DOES TRAUMA AFFECT CHILDREN’S WELL BEING AND ABILITY TO LEARN?
A recent national survey of the incidence and prevalence of children’s exposure to violence and trauma (NatSCEV II) which was conducted in 2011 as a followup to the original NatSCEV I survey. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored both surveys. These surveys revealed that 60% of American children have been exposed to violence, crime or abuse. Forty percent were direct victims of two or more violent acts. Prolonged exposure to violence and trauma can seriously undermine children’s ability to focus, behave appropriately, and learn in school. It often leads to school failure, truancy, suspension or expulsion, dropping out, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.
HOW DOES HANDLE WITH CARE HELP CHILDREN SUCCEED IN SCHOOL?
The goal of the initiative is to prevent children’s exposure to trauma and violence, mitigate negative affects experienced by children’s exposure to trauma, and to increase knowledge and awareness of this issue. At the end of the day, through Handle With Care, children will remain in their schools and classrooms and be better able to function and learn.
HOW DOES HANDLE WITH CARE WORK?
The program is very simple: Law enforcement officers at the scene of crime, violence and/or abuse are identifying children at the scene who have been exposed to trauma. The child’s name, age and school is sent by Law Enforcement in a confidential notice to the child’s school before the child starts school the next day. There is no information being given except for the child’s name and these three words “handle with care.” Schools are learning how to be trauma sensitive and identifying interventions that will mitigate the negative effects of trauma on the children. So if the child acts out, the teacher has a heads up and might send the child to the counselor instead of the principle, give the child extra time to do a project or postpone a test. When school interventions are not sufficient, therapists can provide services on site at the school for children who need therapy.