BCPS Recovery Services

  • BCPS Recovery Services  


    Supporting schools to ensure that they are prepared to address the needs of students at times of traumatic stress; promoting healing, coping, and resilience.

    Healing ∞ Coping ∞ Resilience

    Recovery Services is committed to supporting students by promoting mental and emotional health by reducing the effect of traumatic stress through recovery and wellness practices. Our focus is on the healing, coping, and resilience of systems and of students through trauma informed prevention strategies and wellness initiatives. Helping children recover from traumatic stress experiences improves their ability to continue to positively function academically, behaviorally, and socially.


    Our District and our entire community are forever changed by the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Broward County Public Schools remains focused on building strength as a community and finding ways to heal together.

    BCPS Recovery Services uses strategies with immediate and long-term actions that draw on the collective strength of our community. In doing so we address underlying chronic stresses such as episodes of violence and natural disasters which affect our schools, and, community.

    Recovery services includes development, supervision and coordination of mental health support for all individuals affected by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) tragedy, crisis, loss and pandemic  District-wide.

  • What can I do to help my child cope with a tragedy?

    Be Available

    • Let children know that you are available to talk with them, but be patient and respect their wishes when they may not want to. 
    • Let children ask questions. 
    • It is okay if you do not have answers to all the questions. It is okay to let your child know that you do not have the answer, but that you will try and find out.
    • Watch for clues that they may want to talk, such as hovering around while you do the dishes or yard work.

    Be Caring 

    • Let children know about the support being provided to students, friends, and families of the victims.
    • Be aware of children who may have experienced a previous trauma and may be more vulnerable to experiencing prolonged or intense reactions and will need extra support. 

    Be Supportive 

    • Create an environment in your home that encourages respect for each other’s feelings and fears, and allows for a supportive, healing environment. 
    • Some children may act out as a reaction. Talk to your child about what is troubling them and do not punish or reprimand them.
    • Explain that all feelings are okay when a tragedy occurs.

    Be Reassuring

    • Validate their feelings and acknowledge the frightening parts of the event.
    • Explain what happened in words that children understand. Explanations should be factual, simple, clear and sensitively worded.
    • Don’t overwhelm young children with too much information. They might want to talk intermittently or might need concrete information to be repeated. 
    • Reassure children that they are loved and will be taken care of. Children who have concerns about siblings or about safety at their own school should be reassured and their concerns validated. 

    Be Thoughtful 

    • Be aware of how you talk about the event and cope with the tragedy. Children learn about how to react to traumatic situations by watching and listening to parents, peers and the media.
    • Reduce or eliminate your child’s exposure to television images, news coverage and social media of the shooting. The frightening images and repetition of the scenes can be disturbing for children. If they do see coverage, be sure to talk with them about what they saw and what they understood about the coverage. 
    • Make sure to correct any misunderstanding or misinterpretations.
    • Maintain your child’s routine as best as possible. 

    Be Creative

    • For children who are too young to talk or do not feel comfortable talking about their feelings, expressive techniques such as play, art and music can provide additional ways for children to express their feelings and let you know what may be troubling them. 
    • Young children may need concrete activities (such as drawing, looking at picture books, or imaginative play) to help them identify and express their feelings.

  • What kind of reaction should I expect from my child?

    Children will show a wide variety of reactions. There is no “normal” reaction to stressful events. Some reactions include:

    • Tearfulness
    • Separation or bedtime anxiety
    • Regression in behaviors
    • Reliving the trauma through dreams
    • Emotional numbness
    • Increased startle responses
    • Withdrawal or physical symptoms like racing heartbeat
    • Nausea
    • Change in appetite
    • Nightmares or fears related to the trauma
    • Avoidance of reminders of the trauma
    • Repetitive play that mimics the trauma

    While symptoms are often transient, they should be clinically treated if they persist. If you have questions, contact your child’s health care or behavioral health care provider to seek advice or guidance.


  • Where can I get information and support, especially after-hours?

    2-1-1 Broward is the 24/7 comprehensive agency in the county that provides individuals and families with critical connections to health and human service agencies and programs they need in just one call. Everyday, trained and degreed counselors provide support, information and referrals that will help you to access the right services by dialing 2-1-1. Services and materials are accessible to those with disabilities. In addition, services are delivered in the language most comfortable to the caller. For languages not spoken on site, 2-1-1 staff uses Language Line, an interpreter service.

    The safety of our students, employees and schools will continue to require an ongoing community-wide effort. We encourage parents and families to remind their children – if you see something, say something. Information and tips can be shared anonymously in the following ways:

  • Where can I get additional resources online?

    1. Parent Guidelines for Helping Youth After the Recent Shooting
    2. Restoring a Sense of Safety in the Aftermath of a Mass Shooting:  Tips for Parents and Professionals
    3. Coping in the Aftermath of a Shooting
    4. Talking to Children About Violence:  Tips for Parents and Teachers
    5. Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event
    6. Tips for Helping Students Recovering from Traumatic Events

BCPS Mental Health Resources

Contact Information

  • Office of Student Support Initiatives & Recovery

    1400 NW 14th Ct.

    Fort Lauderdale , Florida 33311

    Phone: 754-321-1783

    Fax: --

    TTL: --

    Phone: --

    Susan N. Vialpando, LCSW

    Service Manager, Recovery

Need To Talk

  • First Call for Help: 

    Broward County Public Schools Mental Health Hotline:  
    754-321-HELP (4357) 

    National Crisis Text Line: 

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
    1-800-273-TALK (8255) 

Safe Schools. Safety First.

  • See Something Say Something

Counseling Services

  • counseling services

    To set up an appointment at area schools contact 754-321-1590. 

  • Community Partners Resource Guide  Community Partners Resource Guide 

    The idea to include community partners as part of the conversation of re-opening schools was the best way for the School District to afford students and families an opportunity to maximize the resources available to them. When approached with the idea to be active participants in this conversation, community partners did not hesitate and jumped right in.

    Click here to read the Community Partners Resource Guide.