The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR creates intervention program for students in distress

By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief

TCC is taking new precautions to protect and offer support to students. Focused more on how to prevent a crisis rather than how to respond to one, TR Campus implemented the first CARE team this spring.

Standing for Consultation, Assessment, Resources and Education, CARE is a behavioral intervention team made up of practitioners and individuals from TCC with experience in certain areas who can assist in determining a course of action for students in distress.

“The purpose of the team is to provide proactive and preventative support to students that have been brought to our attention through a formalized referral process,” TR vice president of student development services Adrian Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez co-chairs the CARE team with TR’s director of counseling Louann Schulze. They’re the only two standing members of eight who make up the group. The others, which include a counselor, a disability support services coordinator, a health services coordinator, a student life representative, a TCC police officer and a faculty member, rotate after serving a year on the team.

From fall 2009 to fall 2010, the CARE team designed, discussed and trained its members on how it would operate, examining models and the best practices of behavioral intervention throughout the country, Rodriguez said.

During that period, CARE also created a risk assessment guide to assist faculty and staff in classifying what threat an individual’s behaviors posed and gaining a better understanding of what type of action should be taken. Categorizing a student’s behavior into low, moderate or elevated risk, employees can learn who to notify when certain behaviors are observed. The team now meets weekly to discuss student matters.

Any faculty, staff or student can refer or suggest that a student seek services from any campus resource, Schulze said. Referrals can be made by contacting someone on the CARE team or submitting a CARE team incident report available in the vice president of student development services office, advisement and counseling center and student life center.

Since the team has been put into practice, they’ve received three referrals.

“It is important for faculty to pay attention and get to know their students,” Schulze said. “If a student is going through a difficult time, there may be changes in attendance, class participation or attitude. A caring and aware faculty member will notice changes and can talk to the student to possibly see what help may be needed.”

After a referral is made, CARE will assess the student’s behavior and recommend a course of action from no action at all to visits with a campus counselor to a behavioral contract to possible suspension of the student. No action has been made on the referrals received so far.

Occasionally, concern has been voiced by faculty members about how to handle classroom situations in which students have become disruptive or how to handle students’ discussions about depression, suicidal thoughts or inappropriate anger or aggression, said TR counselor Lori Leach, who is also part of the CARE team.

“Our goal is that anyone on campus — faculty, staff and even other students — will feel more comfortable about consulting with our team when concerned about the well-being of another student and will feel assured that the student’s needs will be addressed quickly and in a compassionate way.”

Rodriguez said the other campuses have shown interest in doing something similar.

“I’m sure we will work together to develop intervention strategies that work best for the district at large,” he said.

 

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