January 2017 Spotlight
Community Police Training for At-Risk Children and Adolescents
Police officers are often the most significant first responders to violent or mental health related events that affect children and adolescent's lives. Yet police officers frequently lack both the specialized training and necessary partnership to meaningfully respond to the children and adolescents exposed to violence or experiencing a mental health episode. Conversely, mental health and other social service professionals may not come into contact with children "at risk" of developing negative outcomes as a result of their violence exposure or showing early signs of a mental health disorder at a time when early intervention could make a real difference. Recent programs have started partnering law enforcement officers with mental health and other social service providers who can offer multi-disciplinary acute and follow-up services. These services provide information on the early identification of, and the early intervention for, at-risk youth that is so critical to making a meaningful impact on children's lives and keeping kids and communities safe. This issue of the EIP newsletter highlights these different programs across the country.
The Child Development-Community Policing Program
The Child Development-Community Policing (CD-CP) program originated as a partnership between the Yale Child Study Center and the New Haven Department of Police Service in 1991. The program continues to serve the city of New Haven and has become the national theory and practice development site for law enforcement-mental health collaborations to respond to children and families exposed to violence. The CD-CP acts as the gold standard of policing programs and has been replicated and adapted in numerous communities across the country.
In CD-CP communities, mental health professionals are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to respond immediately to police calls involving child victims or witnesses to violence. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach, police, mental health professionals, child protective service and other providers, coordinate multi-system interventions that re-establish safety and the well-being in the wake of a violent or mental health related event. The CD-CP Program involves several core components: 1) cross training for police and mental health professionals including training in Human Behavior, Trauma and Community Policing Procedures and regular ride-alongs with patrol officers; 2) Acute response and follow-up services where Childhood Violent Trauma Center faculty are available to respond with police colleagues to calls involving at-risk children and adolescents; 3) weekly interdisciplinary program conferences where cases are reviewed and follow-up plans are coordinated; and 4) Childhood Violent Trama Center Clinic, which provides trauma assessment and trauma-focused treatment for children and families who are at high risk for psychological and functional impairment.
There is currently a Baltimore branch of the CD-CP formally known as the Community Oriented Partnership (C.O.P.S.) Program, partnering the Baltimore City Police Department, The Johns Hopkins Hospital Division of Child Psychiatry Community Programs and Baltimore communities, for the purposes of helping youth impacted by violence. This partnership consists of a very dedicated, hardworking group of police and clinicians, and community representatives who have been working together above and beyond their daily responsibilities to develop and implement this comprehensive program to assist youth who experience or witness violence.
Click here to learn more about the CD-CP Program and watch videos of the police and mental health professionals involved.
Strategies for Youth: Connecting Cops and Kids
Strategies for Youth (SFY) is a policy and training organization dedicated to improving police/youth interactions through community engagement, police training, outreach programs for youth, and proactive use of multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solve and build relationships between police and youth. The program trains police officers on child and adolescent development from a scientific perspective including information on understanding the underlying biological mechanisms of a teenage brain. The police training programs integrate cutting edge research in practical terms to ensure the officers leave trainings with concrete skills to apply in the field.
Strategies for Youth training includes topics on adolescent behavior and de-escalation tactics for interactions with youth, and is based on regional, agency, demographic or subject areas needs. Based on Supreme Court decisions and best practices, SFY works with departments to update agency guidelines for juvenile Miranda, custody, interviewing, and disproportionate minority contact. SFY also provides ongoing technical assistance to departments, including survey services gauging the state of police/youth interactions, data collection, and mediation training.
Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit
By engaging in a national dialogue with key stakeholders throughout the law enforcement and mental health fields, the Bureau of Justice Assistance has gathered the best practices and resources to help officers respond appropriately and safely to people with mental illness. This toolkit serves as a comprehensive, go-to source for information related to these important collaboration efforts. Some of the necessary trainings for officers to safely and effectively manage encounters with people with mental illness include crisis intervention, mental health first aid, and in-service and roll-call training.
Click here to learn more about the Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit and explore the interactive videos.
B.E.S.T. (Behavioral Emergency Services Team)
The Behavioral Emergency Services Team (B.E.S.T.) training is a certification course based on national models, which equips police officers with methods to properly interact with individuals with behavioral and/or mental health disorders safely and in a mutually beneficial manner. The program is a partnership with the Behavioral Healthy System-Baltimore, National Alliance on Mental Illness of Metropolitan Baltimore, Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc., Baltimore Child and Adolescent Response System, and the Baltimore City Police Department. The training is 40 hours over 5 days, and includes presentations, experiential learning, speakers, site visits, and role play scenarios, and is lead by one of our EIP Advisory Council Members, Ms. Elizabeth Wexler.
Officers are trained to respond to crisis calls in a way that de-escalates mental health crises, minimizes arrests, decreases injury to police officers and individuals in crisis, and links individuals with the mental health system. In an effort to maximize the number of officers who are trained within the department, the training is now an established part of the Baltimore City Police training academy curriculum. Each cadet class receives the B.E.S.T. training before graduating from the academy. The B.E.S.T. program has trained over 800 officers since its inception.
EIP and Partner Updates
Webinar: A Future for Early Intervention?
The National Empowerment Center, Inc. is hosting the webinar: A Future for Early Intervention? Lessons Learned and the Potential Transformation of Specialized Early Psychosis Services. The webinar will explore contemporary practices in specialized early psychosis services with a focus on the service gaps within trauma, peer support, and ethnic/racial disparities/cultural humility. Presenters include, Dr. Nev Jones, the director of research for Felton Institute's Prevention and Early Intervention in Psychosis programs, Ms. Dina Tyler, the director of Peer and Family Support for Felton Institute, and peer support specialists from multiple mental health programs. The presenters will cover current practice innovations and describe an agenda for increased peer leadership and transformative change within early intervention.
Click here to register for the webinar!
Peer Services for Young Adults Workgroup
The workgroup is planning on meeting monthly to focus on leveraging current opportunities for peer supports in EIP and other organizations that could benefit from peer support. If you’re interested in joining the peer-involvement workgroup, please contact Melanie Bennett.
Access the original peer-support for FEP guidance manual developed by Dr. Jones.