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Helping Montgomery Families Initiative launches “OpenDoors” program

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 8:28 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Helping Montgomery Families Initiative announced a new program to help kids who’ve seen traumatic events get the help they need.

The initiative is made up of people across law enforcement, education and area leaders in the city and county. They’re looking to keep kids from heading down a path that leads to criminal activities.

Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey specifically discussed children who witness or experience violent situations. He said many never get professional help, which could lead them to act out in school and sometimes lead to trouble publicly.

Officials announced the “OpenDoors” program Thursday. It will make sure those who suffered trauma from a shooting or murder will receive help from a licensed professional.

“Anytime you can open doors, anytime you can, as far as us in law enforcement. I just sitting over there thinking to myself, after working so many years, and working homicides and going into shootings, and going to the scenes, and looking at family members as the sit on the sofa, being there when you’re given a notification of death of a family member and the kids are there. I just wish we had this back then.” said Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham.

Referrals for who may need that professional help will come from law enforcement, family members and school professionals.

Staff from the Helping Montgomery Families Initiative will also canvas the area around the shooting and talk to people in the area.

Another part of the program will be called “Handle with Care.” A staff member from the Helping Montgomery Families Initiative will call a designated person with a school and simply say a child’s name and “Handle with Care.” That let’s them know to look out for the student without giving away sensitive information on investigations.

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