Promising Practices for Saving Drug Endangered Children

It is estimated that more than nine million children live in homes where illegal drugs are used, manufactured, or sold. The impact on these kids is devastating. They are three times more likely to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused, and four times more likely to be neglected. Many grow up to become drug users themselves.

Collaborative Methods and Shared Resources for Positive Outcomes

As law enforcement professionals and concerned citizens, we want to identify and protect these kids from present and future harm. This isn't easy—nor is it a usual element of law enforcement's mission—but we can intervene effectively to rescue, defend, shelter, and support these children through collaboration with other professionals in our communities.

Biweekly OFDVI Task Force Meeting at the HPPD. The individuals in the photos represenTo illustrate methods for doing so, the COPS Office has teamed up with the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC). Together, we have published Promising Practices for Helping Drug Endangered Children, Paths to a Common Vision, a guide to collaborative procedures for finding and assisting drug endangered children.

Creative Solutions: Apps, Videos, and More

Since 1993, when the first effort was launched in California, DEC alliances have proven very successful in engaging professionals from multiple disciplines to develop effective collaborative efforts. Today, there are 25 state DEC alliances, several tribal alliances, and one in the province of Ontario, Canada.

In this publication, the reader will learn the various DEC alliances' best, most promising practices, which include a wide variety of traditional methods as well as innovative ideas such as the smartphone app developed by the state of West Virginia. Called WV HELP, it provides quick access to contact information for protecting children in dangerous situations. Readers will also learn about Washington state's training video, which includes on-scene footage taken by law enforcement, and Montana's incorporation of DEC training into a law enforcement academy.

Implementation: Guidelines, Checklists, and Protocols

Another successful effort outlined in this publication is Nevada's tribal DEC collaboration, in which all tribal communities are trained in DEC awareness and have formed collaborative groups which include Law enforcement, first responders, housing officials, and child welfare agencies.

The publication also includes information about the COPS Office's DEC resources CD and a very useful Drug Endangered Children Law Enforcement Investigative Checklist developed by the Ontario DEC.

Details for Implementation at the Local and State Level

Most importantly, the reader will learn practical procedures for implementing the DEC approach, with examples of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), model policies, and guidelines for local, county, and statewide implementation.

There is no single solution for keeping drug endangered children out of harm's way, but there are many promising practices outlined in this publication. These examples can help agencies collaborate with others in the community to identify, help, and save these children at risk.

Learn More

To learn how your department can implement these practices, download your free copy of Promising Practices for Helping Drug Endangered Children, Paths to a Common Vision today.

Faye Elkins
Special Contributor
COPS Office

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