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JANUARY 08, 2014

Children witnessing a parent’s arrest can lead to long-term behavioral health problems.  Since November, the Manchester police have been training and working to help children in such situations through a program called REACT (Responding to Children of Arrested Caregivers Together). The effort teams police officers with child mental health and crisis specialists.

The police department’s main partner in REACT is Community Health Resources (CHR), a nonprofit organization that fields a mobile team of six therapists. Officers can call these specialists to places where arrests are being made. The therapists also follow up with the family for up to 45 days after the arrest.

“Therapists look for signs that children are not coping, such as showing intense emotion or running outside after a parent who’s being escorted to a cruiser”, said Kathy Schiessl, CHR’s Senior Vice President for Child and Family Services.

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