A new program is designed to help children exposed to trauma get support in school.
Gov. John Carney has signed legislation, sponsored by State Rep. Sean Lynn, creating the Take Care Delaware program.
It requires law enforcement and first responders to alert a child’s school when the child is found at a traumatic event. The program will start at the Smyrna School District and eventually expand to other districts statewide.
Smyrna School District Superintendent Patrick Williams said district staff will not take an overt approach with traumatized children.
“Will not seek out, will not investigate,” he said. “Mindful observation and if that child appears to need support, that’s when we’ll offer that support.”
Williams said traumatic events children witness can include gun violence or domestic abuse. Examples of support could include mental health services, rest or eating a meal.
“Maybe last night I didn’t even eat,” Williams said. “Maybe I’m putting my head down on my desk. So respite would also be something that’s provided.”
Carney signed an executive order in 2018 making Delaware a trauma informed state. It aimed to provide resources to mitigate adverse childhood experiences.