Handle with Care Maryland
Changing Marylandand for the Better

Program Requirements


Maintaining fidelity to the program is essential. It is worth it to ensure proper planning time and to not rush the implementation.


  • Minimum key stakeholder representation: School, Law Enforcement, Mental Health Provider. Teams are encouraged to include other key stakeholders i.e., child protective services workers, victim advocacy programs, Child Advocacy Centers, community programs, parent organizations, etc.
  • Commitments from local leaders (County School Superintendent, Principal, Police Chief, Sheriff, Mental Health Providers)
  • Team Leaders: school, law enforcement and mental health provider must 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 must 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 HWC, and strategies for successful implementation.
  • School must conduct a book study or other strategic planning session to identify and assess issues impacting their students and specific individual, classroom and school wide interventions.
  • Law enforcement supervisors must provide training to patrols on department policy to identify, document and report children encountered on the scene of calls. Officers must be familiar with appropriate on-scene response when children are present to ensure the impact of trauma is minimized.
  • Mental health providers must be trained and certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


  • Key stakeholders must develop protocols and MOUs utilizing examples of existing agreements and protocols developed by the West Virginia Children Exposed to Violence Initiative
  • Schools must utilize required forms (HWC form, parental permission to treat, student handbook notification, brochures, etc.)


  • School commitment to provide space at school for 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.