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Model Fidelity/Accreditation

Program Requirements



  • Minimum key stakeholder representation: Schools, Law Enforcement Agencies, Mental Health Providers. Teams are encouraged to include other key stakeholders i.e., Children’s Protective Services workers, victims advocacy programs, community programs, parent organizations, etc.
  • Commitments of support for Handle With Care from local leaders (county school superintendent, principal, chief of police, sheriff, mental health provider).
  • Team Leaders: school, law enforcement and mental health providers should designate a person who will serve as the Team Leader for their discipline. The Team Leader will act as a liaison between key disciplines.


  • Law enforcement supervisors, teachers and staff, and mental health partners should jointly attend a one-hour presentation providing an overview of the impact of trauma on children, the impact of trauma on learning, key elements of Handle With Care, and strategies for successful implementation.
  • Schools should conduct a training, book study or other strategic planning session to identify and assess issues impacting their students and specific individual, classroom and school wide interventions.  Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) work within a district would likely support Handle With Care.
  • Law enforcement supervisors must provide training to road/field personnel on department policy to identify, document and report children encountered on the scene of calls. Officers must be familiar with appropriate on-scene response to minimize negative or traumatic impact when children are present.
  • Mental health providers should be trained and certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. For more information about TFCBT certification go to


  • Key stakeholders must develop protocols and Memorandums Of Understanding (MOU) utilizing examples of existing agreements and protocols developed by the West Virginia Children Exposed to Violence Initiative and recreated for Michigan as found on the Michigan website.
  • Schools must utilize required forms (Handle With Care form, parental permission to treat, student handbook notification, brochures, etc.)


  • School commitment to provide space at school for counseling and mental health counseling.


  • Team Leaders must routinely meet to assess gaps/barriers in the program and needed improvements.
  • Law enforcement will develop and improve positive relationships with students by routinely visiting, eating lunch and interacting with students in a non-crisis situation. (Best Practice)

IMPLEMENTATION GUIDE: A step-by-step guide for planning and implementing Handle With Care in communities.



Handle With Care