MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Helping students overcome a traumatic experience has become a team effort in the city of Madison.
Madison City Schools and first responders have teamed up to establish the state’s first Handle With Care program. School district representatives, first responders, agency partners and more gathered at Journey Middle School for the launch of the program Monday morning.
Handle With Care allows first responders and schools to provide trauma-sensitive support and care for children who may have experienced it.
Produced by the National Children’s Advocacy Center, the program allows first responders to notify the school system if a child has been exposed to a traumatic incident. This can range from house fires, car accidents, etc.
The Madison Police Department and Madison Fire and Rescue have received new software that will be available on hand in service vehicles, iPads and cell phones. This allows first responders to relay the information on-site.
Madison Fire and Rescue Chief David Bailey said they were eager to provide an additional service to the community.
“We are just excited to be able to help and be available to give that information to the teachers and the counselors in those instances.”
After sending a “Handle With Care” signal, the school will then be able to monitor the student’s performance and create specialized academic or counseling services if necessary.
“Maybe they need some extra time on an assignment, maybe they need to speak to the school counselor our school-based mental health partners,” MCS Mental Health Services Coordinator Stephanie Allen said. “We have those resources available if they need them. And some kids might not and that’s okay.”
As a pioneer for the state, the Handle With Care Program is now in effect across all Madison City Schools.