Handle With Care for Mental Health Providers

When a child is exposed to violence or trauma and a law enforcement officer has contacted the child’s school, the school may determine that school-based mental health services are appropriate. In these circumstances, the following process will occur:

  • Crisis intervention service may be provided without consent from the parent. Any ongoing therapy services at school will need to have a signed consent from the parent or guardian.
  • Upon receiving parental consent, the school will make a referral to local a mental health provider (MHP)*.
  • The mental health provider (MHP) will initiate contact with the parent/guardian to schedule an “intake” (an appointment to gather important information) at the time and location that works best for the student/family within 72 hours.
  • The MHP will complete the initial intake assessment to determine, a.) If services are necessary and b.) the frequency and duration of services. If therapy is recommended the MHP and family will develop a treatment plan.
  • The MHP will keep designated school personnel informed about status of therapy (active, inactive, terminating).
  • The MHP will work with designated school personnel to attend school based meetings as needed in the best interests of the child. This is accurate
  • The MHP will provide trauma, or behavior specific training to school staff on an as needed basis and per MOU agreement with the County School system. A MHP can provide Trauma Informed Care training to the school as needed. The MHP can also consult with the teacher or support staff to provide suggestions to aid in behavior modifications.
  • The MHP will leave the designated therapy space in acceptable condition, removing any confidential or identifying information from the premises.
  • The MHP will participate in quarterly HWC Team Meetings to assess the following to determine the effectiveness Handle with Care initiative: academic achievements; truancies; and disciplinary reports and treatment outcomes. The meeting will not focus on specific cases.

*The MHP referral process, funding for mental health services, and provider options will vary based on school district, county, or other jurisdictions. Contractual agreements with certain MHP agencies may be in place for schools, and parental choice and insurance coverage may also affect the referral process.