Handle with Care
Handle With Care (HWC) supports children exposed to traumatic events through improved communication between law enforcement and schools. A HWC referral will come to schools through the Safe 2 Say system, as a “HWC event”, which means that the child was present during an incident involving law enforcement the night before (as a victim, family member or bystander), may have been exposed to something traumatic and should be “handled with care” in school.
Events like bad car accidents, domestic disputes, overdoses, suicide attempts, medical emergencies or arrests of family members are just some of the police-related incidents where children are often present. Police officers in both Lehigh and Northampton County, as well as State Police departments, are participating in the Handle With Care program.
The goal of this program is to give educators an early heads up about a child’s emotional needs so a trauma impacted child can be connected with appropriate supports and interventions to help them feel safe and supported and able to focus on learning.
Exposure to trauma during childhood can negatively affect a child’s memory, focus, cognition, impulse control and emotional regulation; interfere with effective problem solving; and leave a child with overwhelming feelings of shame, frustration and anxiety. Statistically, nearly half of students in every US classroom have been exposed to at least one traumatic event, between 16-37% of every class has been exposed to toxic levels of traumatic stress and between 30-44% are struggling with a mental health issue like depression or anxiety. This is why our United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, in partnership with the Lehigh and Northampton County District Attorneys, Police Chiefs and School Leaders, launched the Handle With Care program in the Lehigh Valley.
For additional information on Handle with Care, please visit Handle with Care - Resilient Lehigh Valley