Webinar presenters Todd Wagner, Chad Sullivan and Jennifer DeLett-Snyder answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Digitizing the Handle with Care Process. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: How widespread is the Handle With Care Program? Is it a nationwide program with all 18,000 jurisdictions, or how big is this program?
Todd Wagner: I’ll go first. I didn’t even learn about Handle With Care until 2018. I want to say it was the fall of 2018. I fell in love with it immediately, along with others. Especially from our engineering and development point of view. It was pretty easy for us to forecast; this is going to sweep across the entire country. Who wouldn’t put their heels behind an initiative like this?
We’re all still coming off of some troubling and difficult times with COVID and everything that goes with it. But to my knowledge, at least 17 states have statewide agencies or offices or departments that have sub-programming that follows the West Virginia model. We also hear of various counties or states with similar programs. Chad’s program in Rock County was one of those. The state doesn’t necessarily have a guideline for them to follow, but their county was involved with it. So, if I had to guess, I would say maybe 25 or 30% of the country is taking action or has initiatives in flight. However, I think that number is going to compound aggressively over the coming months.
Audience Question: Does this already include private or parochial schools? Or is it only for public schools?
Todd Wagner: The licensing for our P3 Care Alerts platform is a countywide license. It’s accessible to anybody and everybody that can or should be involved in the Handle with Care initiative. So, first responders and law enforcement officers are obviously the ones submitting the alerts and could be recipients of those alerts. Whoever you added to the digital platform will receive the alerts.
Chad Sullivan: In my implementation of the digital process, I plan on adding the parochial schools as I can. I’m still developing our process and I’ve already talked to a couple of them. They’re eager and they’ve said, “Yeah, we want that.” So I add them to the drop-down listing for the officers. Once I get the parochial school board, I’ll say “Okay, who needs the alert for your school?” It’s an easy add. It takes a few seconds to get them on board.
Todd Wagner: A quick point of clarity: The key ingredient there is training. How many schools should be involved? When should you add them? You should add them once they’re trained so that they know how to act and how to handle those kids with care.
Audience Question: You’ve talked about how simple and discrete the e-mail is, does it solely just go to like the school principal? Is it the school counselor, or do all the staff receive it? What’s the distribution process once it goes to the school? Who at the school actually gets it?
Chad Sullivan: Each school is different. There are district safety persons who I deal with regularly. I tasked the school district contact to say, “Reach out to your schools. Who at that school would be interested in having the care alert come to them?” They decide who at each school was the right person to receive the alerts. We try to not add too many recipients, keeping it to 1 to 3, which is a best practice I’ve found with my agency or school districts. The school decides who they feel is the important person to receive alerts through the Handle With Care program. It’s discrete, not something the whole staff is involved with. It’s really the SRO, the principal, and the counselor. Usually, those are the top three that schools add, which makes sense to me.
Todd Wagner: Quality over quantity. Jennifer, do you want to share that, as well?
Jennifer DeLett-Snyder: For us, it only goes to the counselor at our school. It goes to the counseling department and our law enforcement at the school district first but not all of our schools have law enforcement, and they don’t have SROs. The counseling department triages it and gets it to the counselor at that school. The Counselor at that school is the only person who receives it unless they feel the principal needs to know And then that counselor contacts the teacher. So, for our district, we have 65,000 students. It’s a lot of students, but they have decided that they wanted it as limited as possible. Just like you said, we don’t need a lot of people who have this information, and it works pretty well for everybody.
Host: And just as a point of clarification, Betsy was wondering, it’s only via the assigned to individuals at that child’s individual school. It’s not all the schools in the day if I’m seeing nodding heads.
All: Yes, that is correct.
Audience Question: So, now, we’re in a virtual learning world, in some school districts are still in virtual learning modes. Does this also apply to them, even though the student may be remote? Is the school district still notified?
Chad Sullivan: I say yes in some cases. The officers on the scene of a traumatic event will ask the kids there, “Okay, hey, do you guys go to school? What school do you go to?” Then, the officer chooses that school [in the P3 Care Alert platform], and they’re still notified even though they’re not having that personal contact with that student. It’s less likely to have any engagement, but it’s awareness. Remember, we said at the beginning of this is: This is an awareness tool, it’s not an action tool. So, awareness goes a long way. And Jennifer, we talked about that before. It really goes a long way.
Jennifer DeLett-Snyder: Kids were out of school because of COVID, and we had summer months, but our law enforcement make an alert regardless of when it occurs. It maybe not be surprising, but during a holiday weekend there’ll be a ton of alerts, the kids aren’t going to be in school, but our school district still wants to receive those alerts because they want to know when the kids come back, who they need to have eyes on.
Audience Question: Do you get parental permission before completing and submitting the form? Can they request that you not notify the school? And what feedback are you getting from families who have been assisted in this process?
Chad Sullivan: I don’t think the families even necessarily know unless the officer explains it. It’s pretty discreet. We’re not giving anything that the school doesn’t already have. So, as I said, we’re not giving details of the incident necessarily. We don’t require any permission to give the name and date of birth of the child, because it’s just an awareness. It’s not a report that’s given out to the public.
Audience Question: A number of people are asking about pricing; can you talk about what pricing structures look like for the program?
Todd Wagner: I certainly can. It’s very, very affordable. We’ve talked about it on a couple of occasions during this session. P3 Care Alerts is a countywide license. Any number of schools participating, any number of law enforcement agencies or first responders, and agencies could be involved. There’s no limit to the number of records being passed or taken through the system. There’s no limit to the number of alerts being sent. It’s a license at $2,500 a year. It’s a subscription service that covers the entire county for $2,500 a year. It’s very affordable.
Audience Question: Can fire and EMS also be part of the alerting system as well?
Todd Wagner: Hundred percent. And they should be.
Audience Question: Can you please address the logistics of implementing a digital platform statewide? With more than 500 police departments, are there any additional thought processes, and extra steps that maybe, you all have advice to share?
Todd Wagner: From a technology perspective, I don’t see it as being complex. Basically, a platform has developed a design to do a certain thing, regardless of the volume of records. So, it’s a database-driven solution that operates as a web application that could have any number of people submitting forms submissions in real-time. The logistical effort is really around managing who’s involved, such as what law enforcement agencies are being trained, and which schools and school officials are being trained. Again, the key ingredient is: Don’t make a school accessible on the platform until the proper people at the school were trained how to react to an alert. If anybody wants to talk about what it looks like from a state model perspective, I’d love to have that offline conversation. Obviously, it comes at a greater expense. It comes with greater complexity. We have a couple of states here in the US that have statewide initiatives that we’ve supported and worked with through that onboarding process.
Audience Question: I think I missed this, but I just wanted to double-check. Does it require a special app, or are the officer on their personal cell phone going to a website basically?
Todd Wagner: Any personal, handheld device, or agency-issued device. They can access it from any browser on any device, they can add a shortcut to their home screen on their smartphone. It’s a simple icon.
For those accounts that wish to do so, we do put passcode protection on it if you want to prevent uninvited people from using it. It’s really not a publicly accessible URL. It’s shared only with your first responders or law enforcement officers in your community. But it runs properly from a website, in simple layman’s terms.
Chad Sullivan: The reason we do that is because we wanted to make it as easy as possible for the officers. I was an officer for 24 years. I knew I had to make it very easy for them, otherwise, they weren’t going to use it.
Audience Question: What was the code that created the state mandate and or maybe it was Chad, I can’t remember which one of the two of you, I guess there was a state mandate you talked about. What was the code that was used to create the state mandate?
Jennifer DeLett-Snyder: It’s SB 80 in the 2019 session in Nevada. It is mandated to use, Handle With Care. But like I said, we started early before it was mandated, and we were already down this road. And there are rural counties that I work with as well, that are outside of my county, who are very interested in what we’re doing because they like the format. The other format is fine, too, because Todd and his group have created that other format too. everybody in Nevada has to do it, but there’s just a preference for the way we’re doing it.
Audience Question: Can you speak to the CJIS compliances? The FERPA or federal right to privacy acts were there for the education or HIPAA requirements? How does Handle With Care, address or maintain these standards?
Chad Sullivan: We have a client that has what’s called the Sunshine Law that they had their lawyers and everybody looking at. But we’re not giving any of that personal information to people that the schools already have that in their systems. So they determined there wasn’t any kind of violations of any laws.
Todd Wagner: We’re not creating any new records and we’re not sharing medical information. We’re just passing an alert to the school on a named record that’s already in their system.
Audience Question: Can you speak more to some of those program outcomes that you’re tracking? What are the successes, the outcomes? And how are you specifically tracking those outcomes from the Handle With Care program?
Jennifer DeLett-Snyder: For us, it’s just like prevention, substance abuse prevention. You don’t know who you’ve impacted, but you put together programming and you deliver programming in, and data will show that if you have good programming, you do reduce the percentage of kids who are using substances. So, when you look at Handle with Care, our law enforcement partners want to know if what they’re doing is helping? The school district says, yes. How can they prove it? They’re not quite sure, but it’s beneficial to have more eyes on a student. And just like we said in the beginning, some students are going to be known by social services and others who are already in those students’ homes, so it’s known that there’s already an issue. But there are kids who are quiet, and maybe you never know they are having suicidal ideation, maybe something’s going on at home but nobody knows about it, until there’s a Handle With Care alert, and it just gets more eyes on the kids from the counselor, from the teacher. Again, counselors don’t approach the student and say, “What happened to your house last night?” but they still have the ability to say, “Hi, Jennifer, how’s your day going today?” And they do that on a regular basis anyway, so it’s more opportunity to watch the students. . our school district feels like this is a successful program, and that they’re getting not more information about the kids, but just more awareness. Just like Chad said, they are just aware of what’s going on, and know there’s something going on.
Chad Sullivan: And I know from the law enforcement side, the officers love to know this because they will use different methods of dealing with students if they get into a fight, if they are acting out, or they’re being loud and disorderly. It isn’t like right to arrest. It’s “Alright, let’s go for a walk, let’s talk about this. What’s going on?” They just want to handle them differently. And that’s the key here. I know for a fact being in that position as an SRO, I arrested kids who had traumatic events in their life. I didn’t know about it until much later and I probably made that probably worse, honestly. And that’s where the SROs love this [program]. And they’re very grateful to know the students who might be having a bad day. And they might be in the right place at the right time to try to dissuade them from doing something bad. It’s all about just awareness, and I know that they really appreciate that.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Digitizing the Handle with Care Process.