U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) recently introduced the Handle with Care Act to connect children who experience traumatic events, including domestic violence situations, drug raids, overdoses, and more, to school resources that are designed to provide the child with trauma-informed care.
“All too often, traumatic events have a devastating ripple effect across children’s lives. Given the right resources, schools can play a critical support role for kids impacted by trauma and provide them with a safe haven. I’m proud to partner with Senators Manchin and Capito to help ensure students affected by the opioid crisis and other trauma get the resources they need to thrive,” Kaine said.
I personally am very pleased we are considering legislation that possibly will bring states some funding to identify students who face varied forms of trauma, make school staff aware of this trauma, and facilitate networking with trauma-focused therapeutic services to help children cope with their trauma.
Lack of trauma-trained staff and resources
First, my concern is that most schools have very few trained staff who are seasoned in understanding the impact of trauma and the approaches to deal with traumas. Since Lakeside spends a great deal of time training school staff all over the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we recognize there are still very few trauma-informed schools. So, the schools lack trained staff who have the capability to deal with a traumatized student once identified.
My second concern is the limited resources many regions have to help children with these types of problems. Often an identified need meets therapeutic services which are either overwhelmed or not available at all to help trauma-impacted children recover and find the healing they need. Likewise, education and support for parents and/or caregivers of trauma-impacted children is required, as they are also a significant part of a child’s life.
I am ecstatic that this legislation that is being introduced. I applaud the efforts of Senators Kaine, Manchin and Capito. However, this is just a beginning to help teachers and school staff work with students who have experienced such significant trauma.
At Lakeside, we are pleased to offer school staff trauma-informed education.
Our website does offer an on-demand course for teachers called Neurologic. You can find more information on our website at www.lakesidelink.com. It is my hope that we can promote trauma-informed and trauma-competent care to schools and help our students find help and hope with some of the extreme circumstances they are dealing with in their community.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO