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Final ‘Safeguarding Children’ safety forum on Wednesday, livestreaming available

CASTLE ROCK – Parents in Castle Rock will have opportunity to take part in Douglas County School District’s Safeguarding Children: Building Resiliency student safety forum on Wednesday night. The last of three scheduled regional forums will be held at Castle View High School, beginning at 6 p.m.

The forums are a chance for parents to learn about the physical and psychological safety measures being taken to protect Douglas County School District students.

“We are trying to give them a big picture of what goes into keeping our kids safe,” explained DCSD Student Wellness Program Manager Dr. Colette Hohnbaum. “We work together to define the roles that the community, parents and schools play. It is all of our responsibilities to protect our children.”

“This isn’t simply a school issue, this is a community issue,” Hohnbaum added.

While DCSD staff members work to share the measures being taken by the District both in physical and psychological safety, other community agencies, including the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health, are also at the event, sharing their efforts and what resources they offer to students and parents.

“Several parents approached me saying, ‘Wow! I didn’t know any of this work was going on,’” explained Student Wellness Coordinator Staci McCormack. “They want to know how they can get these programs started at their schools.”

Each of the forums also accompanied by a resource fair, providing parents with community resources that may be helpful to them.

Hohnbaum says the mantra for student safety, especially in the psychological arena is, all eyes on all kids, all the time. Part of the message is giving warning signs parents and others in the community should be watching for.

“It takes us all,” Hohnbaum said. “If we learn about them early, we can intervene early.”

In addition to the forums, DCSD’s Student Wellness department is working with Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health to bring a new program called Youth Mental Health First Aid to our school communities. The training provides information to non-mental health staff, like bus drivers, health assistants and other employees who see students throughout the day. It provides them with signs to look for and how they can help.

Hohnbaum says, “We all need to know what is normal adolescent development and what should we red flag? What are the things we should be watching for? How should we talk to these kids and how do we get them the help that they need?”

The program will eventually be offered anyone interested, including teachers and parents.

Wednesday’s forum will be in the commons at Castle View High School in Highlands Ranch from 6-8 p.m. While these events are primarily intended for parents, children are also welcome. The English as a Second Language staff will be providing an interpreter for those that speak Spanish at the event.

For those who are unable to attend, we will be livestreaming the final forum. Tune in at http://bit.ly/SafeguardingKids, beginning at 6 p.m.

April 22, 2014 | By rmbarber | Category: Safety and Security, Mental Health Intervention

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