The Palmetto Pyramid Police Partnership (P4) was conceptualized and launched through a federal Preschool Development Grant awarded to DSS, facilitated through collaborations by multiple state agencies. The goal of P4 is to pilot a model of best practice by providing consistency of care through the Handle With Care notification model and Pyramid Model implementation. P4 was piloted in Richland One School District with law enforcement support by the Columbia City Police Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department in August 2021.
If this has piqued your interest, you are welcome to download the P4 brochure to learn more about the initiative, introduce the topic with others, or to remind yourself to check out the resources! (See P4 Brochure below.)
Although Handle With Care begins with law enforcement, anyone can make a Handle With Care referral. If you know a child that has been exposed to a traumatic event, and your school does not yet have a Handle With Care program, you can make a referral through this secured email: email@example.com
Please list the child’s name, age, school, and the words “Handle With Care.” No other information needs to be provided.
NOTE: A Handle With Care referral does not take the place of a mandated reporter reporting suspected child abuse. If you suspect child abuse, call 1-888-CARE4US or 1-888-227-3487 and if there is an emergency, you need to call 911.
Law Enforcement is typically the first agency to come into contact with children when there has been a traumatic event.
(See Notification PowerPoint below.)
Notification Training: This is the training video that was sent to CPD and RCSD for their officers.
A huge “THANK YOU” to Chief Holbrook and Sheriff Lott for their support and willingness to partner in the P4 initiative.
P4 is facilitated through the work of three supervisors and three masters of social work interns collaborating with law enforcement, local school districts, and participating school- and community-based mental health.
Let’s meet them!
Dr. Rikki McCormick is an Education Associate in the Office of Special Education Services for the South Carolina Department of Education. She was previously the Director of Special Education and Student Support Services for Lincoln County Schools in Hamlin, WV. She completed her undergraduate degree in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training at Concord University and has done her graduate work through Marshall University. Dr. McCormick Lowe’s dissertation focused on Twitter’s uses in education. Her research interests have been in auditory processing disorder, D/deaf education, trauma informed care, youth mental health, educational technology, and digital citizenship.
Ashley Davies is an Education Associate on the Early Childhood Team at the South Carolina Department of Education in the Office of Special Education Services. She received her Bachelor’s of Education in Moderate to Severe Special Education from the University of Akron (OH) and her Master’s of Education in Early Childhood Education from Grand Canyon University (AZ). As member of the Early Childhood team, she currently serves as the co-lead for the P4 Initiative, as we as the manager for technical assistance provided by South Carolina Partnerships for Inclusion. Previously, she was the assessment manager for the South Carolina Alternate Assessment. Prior to coming to the South Carolina Department of Education, Ashley served as an administrator and teacher in Charleston County School District. Ashley’s special interests include the educational progress and programming for children 3-5, as well as instructional development and delivery for children with the most significant disabilities.
Meghan Trowbridge is the Assistant Director and Training Director at the University of South Carolina’s Center for Disability Resources (SC UCEDD/LEND) and a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine.
Meghan has been working in the field of disabilities for over 27 years. In her role at the South Carolina UCEDD, she focuses on projects centered on self-determination, person centered planning, and systems development. Her newest efforts center on the Palmetto Pyramid Police Project (P4) working with local law enforcement agencies, daycare centers, and schools to implement the Handle with Care initiatives. She is currently the onsite supervisor for the P4 Initiative MSW interns.
Meghan is also the Social Work Core Faculty for the SC LEND. She supervises multiple social work trainees in several organizations and teaches social work courses on disability, community development, human behavior, leadership, and supervision for the University of South Carolina, Winthrop University and Columbia College. As a result of her efforts, CDR currently collaborates with over 25 agencies serving children, youth and families living with disabilities. Committed to full inclusion for people with disabilities, Meghan has spent her professional career fostering collaborative relationships with a variety of community organizations. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker and a Nationally Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer.
Handle With Care is a national notification model that allows schools to know that a child has been exposed to a traumatic event and, thus, “handle with care.” Coupled with trauma-informed practices and school/community-based mental health, children can receive timely support in order to mitigate the effects trauma have on the brain, body, learning, and behavior.
The P4 project attempts, not only to implement Handle With Care within K-12 schools, but also to provide an avenue for support for our littlest learners in preschool, early childhood, early intervention, daycare, and home settings. (See Flow Charts for the HWC process below). To focus on sustainability and expansion, P4 now lives as a committee on the SC Pyramid Model State Leadership Team (SLT) housed at SCPI: South Carolina Partners for Inclusion, our Technical Assistance Center for Early Childhood Outcomes.
The goal of this committee is to train, coach, and support Handle With Care that provides Consistency of Care for infants, toddlers, and young children through home, school, law enforcement, and community agencies in identifying trauma, coordinating child and family supports, and providing follow-up to reduce the effects of trauma. (See Steering Committee Flyer below)
Interest Site: An interest site is a district that has contacted and completed an interest meeting and has created a plan for next steps for implementing Handle With Care.
Implementation Site: An implementation site is a district that has held an interest meeting, established their notification protocol, initiated collaboration with law enforcement and has held the kickoff meeting.
Demonstration Site: A demonstration site has worked through all the steps of both interest and implementation site, and has received and responded to Handle With Care notices.
Active Site: An active site has worked through all the steps of interest, implementation, and demonstration sites, and is functioning independently as a Handle With Care district with a complete trauma-informed framework.