National Center for Children Exposed to Violence

Child Development-Community Policing Program

The Child Development-Community Policing Program (CD-CP) is a model collaboration of mental health, law enforcement, juvenile justice, education, judicial and social service professionals who work to heal the wounds that traumatic exposure to violence inflicts on children and families.  CD-CP had its inception in 1991, when the Child Study Center began its partnership with the City of New Haven and the new Haven Department of Police Service. 

The New Haven CD-CP Program involves the following core components:

  • Cross training for police, mental health and other professionals involved in the program model including training in Human Behavior, Trauma and Community Policing Procedures for police officers and other professionals that includes regular ride alongs with patrol officers for clinicians
  • Acute response and follow-up service, where Child Study Center faculty and trainees are available to respond with police colleagues to calls involving child victims or witnesses to violence in their homes, schools or the broader community, as well as other potentially traumatic events, such as serious accidents, sudden deaths, fires or animal attacks.  Follow-up home visits are also provided to help provide support and ensure the safety/security of families following a traumatic event.
  • Weekly interdisciplinary program conference, a forum for police, domestic violence advocates, DCF representatives, juvenile justice professionals and clinicians review cases and coordinate their follow-up plans for the children and families referred to the program.
  • Childhood Violent Trauma Clinic, which provides trauma assessment and trauma-focused treatment, including the Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention (CFTSI), for children and families who are at high risk for psychological and functional impairment due to exposure to violence and other potentially traumatic experiences (see additional details in clinic section).
  • Domestic Violence Home Visit Intervention Project, which provides home visit follow up to children and families affected by domestic violence, with the goals of increasing safety and security, increasing parents’ understanding of children’s responses to domestic violence and increasing children and families’ access to community services. A comprehensive evaluation of the DVHVI was conducted in 2006-7, with funding from SAMHSA and the Ethyl Donahue Foundation, with promising results (see Trauma Research Section for further details).

In New Haven, the CD-CP Acute Response Service responds to approximately 8 referrals per week involving children and families exposed to violence, trauma and tragedy.  Children of all ages, from birth to 18 are seen through the program.  More than a third of all calls to the CD-CP Program involve children exposed to domestic violence.  More than half of the children referred following domestic violence exposure are under 6 years old.

Police-mental health partnerships based on the CDCP Program have been implemented in communities across the U.S.