Waterbury police are collaborating with mental health professionals in a pilot program that aims to reduce traumatic stress in children. As WNPRs Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the program is meant to provide support to children after the arrest of a parent or caregiver.
The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut focuses on ways to improve care for children who are suffering from traumatic stress. Stress can be triggered in a number of ways including witnessing traumatic events. Dr. Jason Lang is a Clinical Psychologist at the Institute. He created the pilot program because he says a gap exists in how police handle children who are exposed to delicate situations. "They're responding to situations everyday where there are children present for arrests or present for other types of traumatic events and they don't really have the training to handle that." Waterbury Police were chosen for the pilot because they showed early interest in the idea. Lang says officers will work with members of the statewide mobile crisis team--in this case--- staff from Wellmore Behavioral Health--- to connect families with counseling when arrests happen "And so we're working with them to make them a resource that the family can call, have someone come out to their door within 35-40 minutes. And help talk the child and family through any concerns or anxiety or distress that they may be experiencing." The Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at Central Connecticut State University is funding the three year $400,000 pilot. The Child Health and Development Institute will also choose a second city to participate at a later date.