These are frequently asked questions about the CARE Team. If you have a question that isn't answered here, please email us.
In general, it is helpful for the referring party to let the individual of concern know about the referral, but we recognize that this may not always be possible. A CARE Team member may contact you to discuss the referral, and follow up on any additional information that could be helpful. If you have concerns about the individual learning that you made the referral, please discuss this with the CARE Team member. In general, names of referring parties are not disclosed, but in situations where a serious concern arises, it may be necessary in order to intervene with the individual of concern. Again, this approach can be discussed with a CARE Team member to address any questions or concerns.
The CARE Team is a multidisciplinary group of professional staff who collaborate on the creation of individualized plans for supporting students. Each CARE Team member has a primary leadership role at the Institute (e.g. Associate Dean, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, etc.) and works closely with other Team members to help facilitate students' success. The CARE Team also offers training on suicide prevention, classroom management, and Mental Health First Aid. In addition, the CARE Team is dedicated to ongoing professional development and training related to collegiate mental health, violence risk assessment, and best practices for behavioral intervention teams.
Anonymous referrals are permitted, but can limit the options the CARE Team has for intervention or management of a situation. We prefer that the referring party includes contact information so that a CARE Team member can discuss any details or additional information that would be helpful to the Team, as well as understand any concerns about anonymity. In many cases, the incident or concern is shared by a number of people, and individual identities do not need to be revealed.
The CARE Team is not a disciplinary body, and doesn't force individuals to talk to anyone. In most cases, individuals will receive an invitation to speak with one CARE Team member with whom they may already have a supportive relationship or connection. Unless there is a question about risk of harm to self or others, students are not mandated to talk to a CARE Team member. The CARE Team member doesn't need to know the specifics of your concerns in order to be helpful; in most cases, they can refer you to confidential resources on or off campus for support.
The CARE Team takes every referral seriously, and operates according to the best practices defined by the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association. When a concern is raised, it is important to look at the specific behavior or issue of concern through an objective lens. The CARE Team strives to base it's recommendations and interventions on an assessment of the facts at hand, and to ask questions and seek information to help inform a reasonable approach to each situation. The balance of the needs of the community and the autonomy of an individual of concern is paramount, and the CARE Team focuses on equitable treatment of all parties involved.
In some cases, concern will persist even after an individual of concern gets connected to supportive resources. Sometimes this is because the referring party continues to feel worried or fearful, and isn't seeing any meaningful change in the individual's behavior. Other times, it is because the individual of concern has multiple issues to manage and progress takes time. In all cases, we encourage you to work collaboratively with the CARE Team and let us know if you are still concerned or if disruptive or disturbing behavior has continued.
The CARE Team does use a secure database program to manage the Team's activities and organize referral information. These records are subject to FERPA, and are only accessible by CARE Team members, or under certain circumstances (i.e. a health or safety emergency) other persons on campus with a legitimate educational interest. The records are largely procedural (i.e. notes about referrals made or follow-up meetings) and do not include any medical or diagnostic information. For more information on FERPA at Caltech, click here.
The CARE Team and its members are not confidential resources; this means that each CARE Team member works under the usual guidelines for reporting abuse, sexual misconduct, and any other requirements for mandated reporters and responsible employees. However, in both working with referral sources and with individuals of concern, the CARE Team prioritizes discretion, privacy, and a "need-to-know-only" approach. The CARE Team members are readily available to discuss any concerns about this practice.
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