Sixty Percent of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18 according to The Sentencing Project. Children can be traumatized when a parent is arrested in front of them. Handle with Care is an organization that alerts school officials any time law enforcement is called to a home where a child is present. Any school personnel who come into contact with the child throughout the day are sent a notice that the child has experienced trauma.
Audra Hamrick helped to bring Handle with Care to Monongalia County when she was a high school counselor at Morgantown High School. Now she is the Director of Public Health Practice and Service Learning at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health and the Handle with Care committee coordinator. Hamrick first heard of the organization at a conference in Charleston. She then went to local school officials and law enforcement officers to implement the program in Monongalia County.
The program is a system that allows school personnel to work more effectively with kids who need special attention. This can include making arrangements for a child by allowing them to take a test at a later date or to go to the nurse’s office to sleep for part of the day, or to access on-site trauma-focused healthcare at the school.
Audra Hamrick talks about the needs of traumatized children below.
Video by Erica Young