In 1996, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department began this collaborative initiative which makes possible the kind of intervention described above. The goals of the CD-CP program are to increase officer awareness and identification of children at risk and increase clinical assessment and service provision to youth in need. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg CD-CP is a replication of the parent program in New Haven, Connecticut, between the Yale Child Study Center and the New Haven Department of Police Service. The U. S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recognizes the program as a successful model for others to follow and has designated Yale as the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence.
To begin program implementation:
- Sergeants team with mental health therapists and child protective service (CPS) workers in the classroom as well as in cross training.
- Clinicians and CPS workers go on police ride-alongs, learning about routine police operations and the neighborhoods served.
- Sergeants observe mental health and child protective services operations, increasing their knowledge of abuse, neglect, and treatment issues, as well as services available.
These activities promote the formation of a strong working partnership, which is the foundation for the success of the CD-CP. Following the cross training, sergeant-clinician-CPS worker teams teach all officers in the district about the effects of violence on child development and when and how to make appropriate CD-CP and CPS referrals. A CD-CP clinician is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for consultation and intervention. Officers on the scene can access their mental health partner whenever they encounter a child impacted by violence or other trauma. All CD-CP staff participate in a weekly program conference to plan follow-up clinical, child protection, and police interventions.
In Charlotte, the pilot project began in the Metro division, a 5-square mile area on the west side with a high incidence of violent crime and a large population of families with children. The program expanded into North Tryon in 1998, into Freedom and Steele Creek in 2001, Westover in 2004, Eastway in 2006, and Providence in 2007. The hope is to expand into all thirteen CMPD patrol divisions when sufficient resources are obtained. Staff
- Major Eddie Levins, CMPD Executive Sponsor
- Sarah M. Greene, ACSW, LCSW, CD-CP Director
- Stacey Flaherty, LPC, CD-CP Clinical Supervisor