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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 10, 2022 09:04 AM
From: Representative Napoleon J. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Pennsylvania Handle with Care Program

The education and development of our children is essential; therefore, they deserve access to quality resources and support to aid them as they evolve into the next generation of leaders in Pennsylvania. However, traumatic events regularly occur in the lives of students at their homes and outside of the classroom, which can negatively impact their grades and growth. Law enforcement regularly respond to these types of events where children are present - such as an overdose of an individual at home or a house fire - but lack the pathways necessary to inform a school when their students may need additional care.
It is for this reason that I intend to introduce legislation to establish the Pennsylvania Handle with Care Program, a law enforcement-led initiative that seeks to better support our youth. When a child is present at a traumatic event, my legislation would require law enforcement agencies to inform the student’s school district that they should handle them “with care.” This legislation does not allow law enforcement to share confidential information, but instead offers school districts a notice that the student may require additional support.
This initiative has been implemented in neighboring states, such as New Jersey, as well as in some communities in Northampton and Lehigh County. It is a proven measure for tackling adverse childhood experiences and will provide for the better utilization of resources for our educators.
Every moment we fail to act is another moment in which students are forced to cope with traumatic experiences without adequate support. We must do all that we can to mitigate the effects of trauma, which is why I encourage you to join me in co-sponsoring this much-needed legislation.