Initiative is Aimed at Ensuring Students Impacted by a Traumatic Event Receive Proper Care When Returning to School
HUDSON COUNTY — Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced today the launch of „Hudson County Cops Care‟ – a unique initiative whose goal is to ensure that school-aged children (grades K-12) throughout Hudson County who have been impacted by a traumatic or critical event receive the proper care and resources when returning to school.
In many cases, when law enforcement interacts with a school-aged student outside of school hours – whether to execute a search warrant in the home, arrest an adult or other family member, for domestic violence incidences, or even when the child is a victim of a crime – school officials are not made aware. „Hudson County Cops Care‟ would help identify when a child has been exposed to a traumatic event with the local police department notifying a designated school official using a standardized form. No specifics or details of the incident would be provided to ensure confidentiality, just that the child had been exposed to a traumatic event.
“We know that for children experiencing traumatic incidents it can be life altering,” said Prosecutor Suarez. “Hudson County Cops Care is meant to be one more safety net to ensure that these children are not overlooked and are provided the necessary care, resources and support to recover from these experiences.”
Other examples of traumatic incidents could include if a family member has suffered an overdose, a shooting, death of a family member, or a house fire, amongst others. Studies show that exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) increases a child‟s chances for mental health issues, substance abuse, and the likelihood to commit crime as a juvenile or adult.
“The Chiefs of Police Association of Hudson County is proud to partner with Hudson County Prosecutor Suarez, the Hudson County Prosecutor‟s Office and our local school officials to help protect the children in our communities throughout Hudson County who may have experienced a traumatic event,” said Chief Robert Geisler, President of the Chiefs of Police Association of Hudson County. “Through this collaborative effort, we now have a system in place to help protect the youngest and sometimes the most vulnerable segment of our society, our children, to deal with and receive the appropriate services in the event that they experience a traumatic event. The Chiefs of Police Association of Hudson County would like to thank Prosecutor Suarez for allowing us to take part in helping to develop this initiative.”
Additionally, the Hudson County Prosecutor‟s Office will soon be creating Comfort Bags – small backpacks with coloring books, stuffed animals, stress balls and water bottles – to provide to local police departments to keep in their patrol cars and precincts to have on hand to help ease children who have experienced a trauma. The bags and contents were paid for by victim witness grant funding.