Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford Introduces First-Ever Handle With Care Maryland Summit First Responders, School Personnel, Mental Health Professionals Collaborate on Solutions to Help Maryland Youth Cope with Trauma
News Release, Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention today welcomed Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and more than 150 members of law enforcement, teachers, counselors, and mental health providers to the first Handle with Care Maryland summit in Crownsville.
This one-day summit brought together individuals and teams from around the state to share best practices for the Handle with Care Maryland program, an initiative designed to address adverse childhood experiences with the goal of mitigating the impact of trauma on Maryland youth. Research by the Department of Justice suggests 60 percent of American children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse, and witnessing or experiencing traumatic events can have long-lasting effects on a child’s education, interactions with the juvenile and criminal justice systems, as well as their long-term physical and mental health.
“This collaboration between law enforcement, schools, and mental health providers allows caring adults in a child’s life to be more aware when a child could need extra support and understanding as they process what they have seen or experienced,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “This important program is championed by our administration because it supports children who experience trauma, empowers schools and law enforcement officers to be part of the solution, and aligns with our goals to improve the quality of life for all Marylanders.”
Sessions for the Handle with Care Maryland Summit were designed to give participants a better understanding of adverse childhood experiences and the impact that trauma can have on a child’s ability to learn, trauma-informed practices overall, and crimes impacting communities and local school systems. Summit attendees also heard from school systems and law enforcement agencies already implementing Handle with Care Maryland, who discussed best practices and lessons that could help jurisdictions piloting the program in the fall.
“The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention seeks to support innovative programs and initiatives that improve responses to crises impacting our communities that make Maryland safer,” said Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Executive Director, Glenn Fueston. “Handle with Care Maryland unites law enforcement, teachers, and mental health professionals to help Maryland children have support as they cope with trauma. The response we received during today’s summit is encouraging and we look forward to more opportunities to train Marylanders on how to use trauma-informed practices that benefit our young people in Maryland.”
Handle with Care began in West Virginia in response to the opioid crisis. In February 2018, Governor Hogan announced that Maryland would adopt the program and implement the practice statewide. So far, 11 counties have adopted the program and six other jurisdictions are set to pilot in the fall. For more information about Handle with Care Maryland and to track the progress of the program’s implementation and impact on Maryland students with our new dashboard, visit handlewithcaremd.org.