What is Care and Concern?
The Care and Concern program provides faculty, staff, and students an opportunity to share concern about a student’s academic progress, wellness, safety, or financial situation. The main purpose of the program is to proactively assist students of concern and intervene early in academic, financial, or health and safety situations.
Why is this important?
Given the tragic incidents occurring in schools and the recognition by the campus community for the need to reach out to students in need, it was apparent that a system was needed to assist students. The University has a responsibility to establish avenues to identify and report signs of high-risk students. In August of 2008, a panel reviewing the incident recommended that colleges do more to share information about troubled students. Penn State also formed a review team to study current protocols for students in crisis and recommended each campus form a crisis intervention team and develop systems to address students in need.
What are the Goals?
Early identification of students who are at risk in one of the following areas:
- Academic progress that is unresolved with faculty intervention; students not responding to faculty attempts related to class attendance, course performance, etc.
- Financial need that prevents students from paying tuition, purchasing books, paying rent, acquiring food staples, or making vehicle payments or repairs; situations in which financial assistance would benefit students’ well-being.
- Personal health or wellness; students who continue to exhibit symptoms of impaired health, even after appropriate referral to health provider.
- Students exhibiting behaviors or expressing comments which have the potential to impact the safety of self or others.
- Students exhibiting behavioral patterns that have the potential for disruption to others and impaired performance; or extreme changes in behavioral patterns, i.e. hyperactivity or very rapid speech, depressed or lethargic mood, deterioration in hygiene, etc.
For mental health emergencies related to imminent danger to self or others please call 911.
How will this work?
PPenn State Fayette faculty, staff, and students may submit a confidential Care and Concern Form to identify concern about a student’s academic progress, wellness, or safety. The Care and Concern program coordinator will: (1) triage submissions for priority standing, (2) facilitate referrals to the appropriate departments and/or resources, (3) provide liaison and follow-up as required, and (4) document disposition for each submitted form and maintain the records related to program utilization.
Care and Concern is NOT meant to replace individual interventions by faculty and staff and should be used if other direct methods have been tried and failed.
In the following scenarios, Care and Concern intervention is advised:
- Example 1: A faculty member notices that a student is exhibiting poor attendance and not doing well on exams, so they address this with the student directly. However, this does not yield positive results and the situation becomes worse.
- Example 2: A faculty member notices that a student has become despondent in class. She looks sad, does not maintain eye contact, and is not completing course tasks. The faculty member addresses these observations with the student and refers her to the campus counselor. At follow-up, the faculty member discovers that the student did not pursue support and continues to exhibit the same behaviors.
- Example 3: A staff member notices that a student who normally says hello to her each morning when she arrives for work is now regularly sleeping on the couch in the lobby, appears to have unwashed clothes, and is generally unresponsive to her greetings. Other students have made the comment that this student lives in the apartments, stays out late, and is regularly missing classes. The staff member’s attempts to engage the student have been unsuccessful.
Submission forms will be kept confidential. Information may be shared on a strictly “need to know” basis in order to refer the student to the correct campus resource or intervene as appropriate. FERPA allows for communication to be shared among “school officials” who have a legitimate educational interest. Under FERPA, there is clear exception for any risks to health or safety.
If this is an emergency dial 911.