Police “Hold Space” for Children

This Officer.com article supports training police to “hold space” for children through careful listening, and treating them as sovereign persons.

This is good because law enforcement is a major gateway into child protection, and police are uniquely positioned to lessen children’s trauma during crises.

Capitalizing on this opportunity however would require police and child protection to coordinate their crisis response.  But most haven’t even developed routine communication channels.  For example, during an arrest police may give children to relatives who are in child protection because they have no way to consult with the county.  Or caseworkers may not be informed when non-custodial parents violate restraining orders to threaten children.

Children will benefit from training more police to engage them thoughtfully, and by improving coordination between law enforcement and child protection.

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Rich Gehrman