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TPD, LCS partner to help children who experience trauma through 'Handle with Care'

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Posted at 10:46 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 18:18:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Tallahassee Police Department is partnering with Leon County Schools to help protect minors involved in "significant events," like domestic violence or the arrest of a household member.

The partnership with LCS is through the statewide Handle with Care program, which will launch at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

TPD said research indicates that trauma can negatively affect a child’s ability to learn, form relationships and function properly in the classroom.

The program is designed to enhance communication between law enforcement and schools, Handle with Care aims to ensure appropriate intervention and supervision is provided to children at school after being identified by officers at the scene of a significant event.

“When a child is dealing with trauma, intervening at the earliest stage possible is critical,” Chief Lawrence Revell said. “Studies show that exposure to traumatic events in childhood increases the likelihood of health problems, substance abuse and involvement in criminal activity in adulthood. This proactive initiative will have a lasting impact on the future of our youth who are at risk of entering our systems.”

When officers encounter a child on a scene, basic information about the child will be collected to provide notification to the school.

This notification will allow school staff to provide appropriate support to help the child. The program ensures privacy is protected and omits case details.

Examples of significant events for a child include:

  • Arrest of a household member.
  • Search warrant served at their residence.
  • Drug or alcohol overdose by a family member.
  • Any community violence.
  • Incident of domestic violence.
  • Death or suicide of a family member.
  • Forced displacement from residence.

For more information on the Handle with Care program, click here. To learn more about the Tallahassee Police Department’s student programs, click here.