Taking CARE of the YSU community  

By Jessica Stamp

At the Office of the Dean of Students, the CARE Team, which stands for Concern, Assessment, Referral and Education, serves as a board for students to address personal safety issues for the Youngstown State University community. 

Nicole Kent-Strollo, Dean of Student and ombudsperson, said the CARE team is made of key members in the YSU community who make decisions about individuals with food insecurity issues and harming themselves or others. 

“The CARE Team is made up of a lot of key members of our campus community, all that have some authority to make changes or to act pretty immediately should that come up,” Kent-Strollo said. 

The CARE Team is divided up into 3 groups: core members, inner circle members and middle circle members. The NaBITA Risk Rubric, National Behavioral Intervention Team Association’s guidelines, recommends who sits on the team based on their job position. 

“It’s not about personalities or who we like more. It’s really about the role and scope of the person who’s employed in that position,” Kent-Strollo said. 

The Penguin of Concern Referral Form, which is open to the public and not limited to just the YSU community, is the main way the CARE Team receives a concern.

“The Penguin of Concern Form is deliberately open to the public,” Kent-Strollo said. “Our goal is to make sure that our campus is seen as a community that cares about one another and [the Penguin of Concern] is one way that we can assist our students.” 

Kent-Strollo said submitting a Penguin of Concern Referral Form is one way a person can show they care about the individual. 

“The majority of reports that we get actually come from other people. Might be a teammate, might be a coach, might be a family member … We get a lot from faculty which is really great because those individuals spend so much time with our students,” Kent-Strollo said. 

The Care Team receives referrals from the Penguin of Concerns Referral Form and then follows the NaBITA Risk Rubric to make a decision about the report. 

“We follow the NaBITA guidelines — at this point — we follow exactly what they say in that, then all reports are reviewed by the CARE Team,” Kent-Strollo said. 

The NaBITA Risk Rubric uses two scales: D-Scale and E-Scale. D-Scale is if a person is potentially going to hurt themselves and E-Scale is if a person is potentially going to harm others. From there, the person gets evaluated on a scale of mild to critical behavior. 

Kent-Strollo said the CARE Team tries to make sure they have all the information needed before taking the appropriate steps of action. 

“What’s important about [reviewing all reports] is if we get something that comes through about a student, I might not know anything else about the student … maybe accessibility services or … someone even in Title IX area has had some interactions,” Kent-Strollo said. “We want to make sure that we have all the pieces of the puzzle so that we can actually rate the level of the concern.”

To learn more about the CARE Team and the Penguin of Concern Referral Form, visit the Office of the Dean of Students’ website.