Handle With Care for Law Enforcement


1. Determine Whether Children Are Present—Best Practice

  • Name
  • Age
  • Relationship to parties
  • School
  • Demeanor
  • Present during incident?
  • Physically harmed

2. Health & Safety Checks on Children — Best Practice

  • Visual Observation
  • Asking the Child
  • Determine if Treatment is Necessary
  • Mandated Reporting to CPS remains a requirement

3. Talking With Children About the Incident—As appropriate for LE investigation

4. Avoid Interviewing Witnesses in the Presence of Children

5. Follow-up Interviews — CAC Needed?

6. Documentation – Child’s name, age and school should be documented by the responding officer.

7. Avoid Subduing or Arresting Someone in the Presence of Children

8. Separating Children from the Care Giving Parent/Guardian — Done with care if required

9. Resources; Provide Parent/Guardian information:

  • Child Advocacy Centers
  • Victim Resources

10. Daily Review of Reports

  • Incidents will be reviewed each morning by the law enforcement agency.
  • A “Handle With Care” notice will be generated for each child listed in each report.
  • A designee at the law enforcement agency will ensure the “Handle With Care” notice is promptly forwarded to the designated school official via email.

11. Quarterly Handle With Care Core Team Meeting (this will happen monthly for the first several months following implementation)

At least quarterly, key HWC stakeholders will review and evaluate HWC and make recommendations for improvement as necessary.

  • Law Enforcement
  • School
  • Advocates
  • Counselors
  • Case workers
  • Community partners
  • Parents
  • Others

The Team will assess the following to determine the effectiveness of HWC: academic achievements; truancies; and disciplinary reports. The meeting will not focus on specific cases.