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handle with care logoAdverse Childhood Experiences / Drug Endangered Children


Helping Traumatized Children Learn and Succeed

Police officers are trained to note whether a child was present during a traumatic incident.

Officers then determine what school the child attends and files a “handle with care” notice with that school.

In other cases, a parent or caregiver may alert the school that something is going on at home, such as a parent’s impending military deployment, or the death of an extended family member.

The one-page form doesn’t provide details about what happened but simply lets the school know that something happened that potentially could effect the child’s ability to learn, and that the student may need extra attention.


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The Drug Endangered Children’s Initiative

The Drug Endangered Children’s Initiative in Plymouth County, Massachusetts is now accepting referrals to help children impacted by the opioid crisis. Children who live in a home where a parent, sibling or other family member struggles with addiction are likely experiencing trauma. Grandparents increasingly find themselves raising grandchildren, and some children end up in the foster care system. The DEC Initiative seeks to help those families.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office has been awarded a federal grant through the Office for Victims of Crime to create a county-wide response for children traumatized by substance misuse in the family. Building on the success of Plymouth County Outreach’s overdose follow ups, the DEC Initiative was created to bring services and support to families touched by the opioid crisis.

Expanding on the efforts of the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office, Plymouth County police departments and schools, and the United Way of Greater Plymouth County’s Family Center, the DEC Initiative helps by providing services directly to the child and family and by helping to navigate complex systems. The DEC Initiative is also bringing awareness and training to agencies that encounter drug-endangered children and helping agencies identify and engage drug-endangered children. By enhancing the response of police departments and schools with trauma-informed training and assisting individual families, the DEC Initiative is helping children become more resilient and break the cycle of addiction.

For more information or to make a referral, contact Kati Mapa, DEC Clinical Advocate: (781) 563-4000; kati.mapa@ccbrockton.org