Examines policy developments within an 11-site Start Strong: Building Healthy Teen Relationships initiative supported implemented from 2008 through 2012 to reduce teen dating violence (TDV) by promoting healthy relationship skills among middle school students. Established merit of a three-streamed approach to policy advocacy, development and enactment that shows significant promise for parallel policy work in related initiatives.
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Policy Change and Development
Policy change and development involves revising existing state and local policies, as well as the development of new policies. For the purpose of SS/HS, policy change and development is focused on policies that foster collaboration and coordination across youth-serving agencies and organizations such as schools, behavioral health, criminal/juvenile justice, law enforcement, child welfare, and early childhood.
SS/HS requires the development of a comprehensive plan that focuses on how the coordination and integration of multiple service systems (e.g., education, behavioral health, criminal/juvenile justice, law enforcement, child welfare, and early childhood) will be accomplished. In an effort to coordinate and integrate systems, policy revision and development at state and local levels is critical. Some examples include:
- developing policies addressing early screening and assessment (Element 1);
- revising policies and procedures as needed to ensure enhanced communication and information sharing across service systems (such as common referral or intake forms) (Element 2);
- adopting a community policing philosophy, supported by policies, procedures, and staff training (Element 3)
- developing anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies (Element 5)
To reduce the incidence of suspensions and expulsions, particularly for male students of color who are disproportionately impacted, Connecticut employed a Restorative Practices approach across its SS/HS districts. Baseline data indicated that statewide, male students were twice as likely to be suspended as female students, which was true for all racial and ethnic groups. Further, Black and Hispanic boys were 2-3 times as likely to be suspended or expelled as White boys, and Black and Hispanic girls were 4-6 times more likely to get such a sanction as their White counterparts.
“The Collaboratory” integrates various state grants and initiatives to ensure a climate of collaboration. State leaders worked together to develop a State Integration Team to include many state initiatives in order to align the work across the state. The initiatives include: Project AWARE, School Climate Transformation, Pre-K Development, Systems of Care, Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment, OJJDP Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, and State Youth Treatment Planning for Substance Abuse.
Wisconsin’s SS/HS State Team and LEA’s worked in collaboration with the state Pyramid Model Implementation Team to expand early childhood social emotional learning (SEL) and development across the state through 1) broad implementation of the Pyramid Model, and 2) improving early identification of children at risk for SEL difficulties. By 2017, Wisconsin had 20 additional Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional (ASQ-SE) trainers with the capacity to reach 180 districts and community partners; and 103 new Positive Solutions for Families trainers.
The Michigan Health and Education Partnership (MHEP) was created and expanded from its original SS/HS structure to facilitate bidirectional communication among state and local partners to support best practices, integration, and services that contribute to successful educational, physical, and behavioral health outcomes for all children and families.
Presents a summary of Federal legislation since 1974 that has had a significant impact on the child protection and child welfare fields. The report also provides an overview of each act and its major provisions.
Considers school policies that try to assist teachers in dealing with the variety of psychosocial and health problems that interfere with learning and performance. Cautions against fragmented supports for students and reviews the benefits of a "whole child" approach for improved outcomes.
A southern town was concerned about the number of arrests for underage drinking and disturbances among high school students. Police did not find it effective to fine first-time offenders or involve repeat offenders in the juvenile justice system, and brought the issue to the core management team.
A West Coast city experienced increased discipline problems resulting in a large number of students being suspended or expelled. While all staff and a number of parents were trained in trauma-informed care and Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS), there were still a significant number of students being suspended or expelled. School officials knew they needed to change the policy on student suspension and expulsion and involve parents in the policy change.
Safe Schools / Healthy Students
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