Research shows that exposure to violence and trauma can seriously undermine a child’s ability to learn, form relationships and focus appropriately in the classroom. To support students in Nevada County, a united effort among local agencies has led to the adoption and implementation of the Handle with Care program. Nevada County Handle with Care is modeled after the West Virginia Handle with Care and the Stanislaus County FOCUS program.
This new initiative enhances communication and collaboration between first responders (law enforcement, fire fighters, emergency medical responders, etc.), and schools. A “Handle with Care Notification” alerts the school that a child may have been exposed to a traumatic incident (i.e. domestic violence, child abuse, death in the family, witness to a crime, loss of home due to a house fire, etc.). No specific details about the incident are given, just one simple request: to focus on the child and handle them with care. Confidentiality is maintained at all levels.
When a child is exposed to violence or trauma, a first responder will send the designated official for the child’s school a “Handle with Care” notification; no details of the incident are provided.
School staff members, while observing the student throughout the day, will aim to be especially sensitive to student needs. Provisions for a quiet place to rest, assistance with meeting basic needs, homework/test forgiveness or delay, a visit to the school nurse or counselor, or referral to an outside agency will be provided as needed.
The Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office is grateful for the collaborative efforts of many local agencies to provide a safe and productive learning environment for our students as we seek to “handle every child with care.”
For additional information on the Nevada County Handle with Care program, please contact Chris Espedal, NCSOS Safety and School Climate Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-478-6400, ext. 2047.