New initiative announced to help Buffalo children who witness arrest of parents

Buffalo Police partner with Osborne Association in Buffalo
Denise O'Connell, Osborne Association Senior Advisor. February 25, 2021
Denise O'Connell, Osborne Association Senior Advisor. February 25, 2021 Photo credit WBEN/Mike Baggerman

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The Buffalo Police Department and the Osborne Association announced a partnership Thursday to mitigate potential trauma for children who witness the arrest of their parents.

Details about how the policy are still under development, though officials lauded the project.

"One of the most trauma-inducing factors in the lives of children of incarcerated parents is being present when their parents are arrested," Denise O'Donnell, Senior Advisor of the Osborne Association, said. "They experience that trauma through their lives."

The broad goals of the project is to figure out how to implement child-sensitive policing in Buffalo. It is intended to focus on children who live in communities that are highly policed. The project will also emphasize training among Buffalo Police officers and expand services for children whose families are involved in an arrest.

Mayor Byron Brown said this is another example of police reforms in Buffalo, saying it's goal is to build the relationship between police and the community, reduce trauma children experience, and to protect and safeguard the future of the children.

$120,000 in grant funding came from AT&T and $248,965 grant from the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund. O'Donnell said the tie to COVID-19 with this is that the children at risk of trauma are also most at risk of contracting coronavirus.

"These kids are experiencing as much trauma as anyone in our cities," O'Donnell said.