Profile No. 48

Child Development-Community Policing (CD­CP) Program -- New Haven, CT

Program Type or Federal Program Source:
Program to reduce the impact of violence on children.

Program Goal:
To coordinate the efforts of the New Haven Police Department and mental health clinicians by providing interdisciplinary intervention to children and families who are victims, witnesses, or perpetrators of violent crimes.

Specific Groups Targeted by the Strategy:
Children and families who are victims, witnesses, or perpetrators of violent crimes.

Geographical Area Targeted by the Strategy:
New Haven, CT.

Evaluated by:
Child Study Center, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

Contact Information:
Colleen Vadala
Child Development-Community Policing Program
Yale Child Study Center
47 College Street
Suite 212
New Haven, CT 06510
Phone: 203­785­7047

Years of Operation:

The Child Development-Community Policing (CD­CP) Program -- a collaborative effort of the New Haven Department of Police Services and the Child Study Center at the Yale University School of Medicine -- was developed to address the tragic psychological impact of exposure to violence on children. The CD­CP Program brings together police officers and mental health professionals for mutual training, consultation, and support so that they may effectively provide direct interdisciplinary intervention to children and families who are victims, witnesses, or perpetrators of violent crimes.

The CD­CP Program consists of interrelated training and consultation components that focus on sharing knowledge and developing ongoing collegial relationships between police officers and mental health professionals. Toward this end, CD­CP sponsors fellowships for police supervisors and clinicians to establish interdisciplinary relationships. In the Child Development Fellowship for Police Supervisors, fellows spend 3 full days in training activities and observations to become familiar with developmental concepts, patterns of psychological disturbance, methods of clinical intervention, and settings for treatment and care. Supervisors also provide basic knowledge about police practices to their mental health colleagues. In the Police Fellowship for Clinicians, clinicians are given opportunities to spend time with police participants in squad cars, at police stations, and on the streets learning directly from officers about their day-to-day activities. This helps clinicians understand the roles that officers play in the lives of children and families and prepares clinicians to intervene collaboratively with police partners. Police officers and clinical staff are either recruited into the program via announcement of openings, or those with especially needed skills are specifically targeted by organization administrators for inclusion in the program.

The CD­CP Program also includes a seminar course on child development, human functioning, and policing strategies for police officers, mental health clinicians, and related professionals. The seminar, which meets for 11/2 hours for 10 weeks, is led by a team of clinical faculty and a police supervisor experienced in the CD­CP approach. The program also has established a 24-hour consultation service. This service allows police officers to make referrals and obtain immediate clinical guidance, especially in the aftermath of children's traumatic experiences. In addition, once per week, police officers and clinicians who staff the CD­CP Program meet to discuss difficult cases that they encounter in their direct experiences in neighborhoods and from their consultations.

The CD­CP collaboration also has expanded to include juvenile probation officers and juvenile detention center representatives. These participants work with children and adolescents who may have experienced chronic exposure to violence and are becoming involved in delinquent activities. Through the CD­CP Gateway Offenders Program, CD­CP staff provide coordinated, comprehensive, and structured assessment and intervention for juvenile offenders who are considered to be at high risk of escalating criminal activities.

Since the CD­CP Program began formal operation in January 1992, 260 officers have completed the 10-week CD­CP seminar, 50 police supervisors have completed the Child Development Fellowship and continue to attend the weekly program conference, and 19 Child Study Center faculty members have completed the Police Fellowship. Moreover, since its inception, the CD­CP consultation service has received more than 700 referrals regarding more than 1,000 children. These consultations concerned children of all ages who have been involved in a variety of violent incidents as victims, witnesses, or perpetrators. Numerous incidents demonstrate the impact that the program has had on children referred to consultation services. In one case, a woman was stabbed to death in the presence of her eight children. CD­CP clinicians responded to the scene, provided acute clinical assessments of the children, and consulted with relatives and police. Intensive followup care was conducted and continues for several family members. All of the children are currently attending school, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and aggression have subsided.

The CD­CP Program serves as a national model for police-mental health partnerships and is being replicated in several cities. Similar programs have been established in Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Charlotte, NC; Framingham, MA; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; Portland, OR; and Italy. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is providing training and technical assistance to these new sites.

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