The Child Development-Community Policing (CD-CP) program forms a strong working partnership between police, mental health, and child protective services (CPS) to:
- ensure that children and families identified receive developmentally appropriate, timely interventions following exposure to violence and other trauma, preventing the onset of serious emotional disturbance.
- increase the awareness among police officers about the needs of children who have been exposed to violence, abuse, neglect, and other trauma.
- establish closer working relationships between police officers, mental health clinicians, and child protective service workers, ensuring a coordinated community response to children and families experiencing, abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, and other trauma.
Following 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.
A Typical Scenario
A gunfight erupts in a local housing project, and a five-year-old girl is struck in the leg by a stray bullet. Charlotte-Mecklenburg patrol officers are the first responders to the scene. Recognizing the psychological trauma that could develop for the victim and her family, they call their mental health partner, the Child Development-Community Policing (CD-CP) clinician on-call. She responds to the scene in minutes to provide acute trauma services to the child and family. When the team suspects neglect due to lack of supervision, a Child Protective Services referral is made. The officers, clinician and child protective services worker follow up over the next few days and weeks to assess needs, provide services, and help reestablish a sense of safety and security in the home.
For more information on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg CD-CP, contact the following:
Sarah M. Greene
, ACSW, LCSW
Program Administrator, Criminal Justice Partnerships
Major Eddie Levins