The Poshard Foundation sponsored a conference on Thursday lead by representatives from the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children.
The DEC’s goal is to train social, law, medical and other service agencies to understand each other and work together in collaboration to put children’s needs first by identifying and responding to children living in dangerous environments.
"Do the rest of you know how child welfare defines neglect?"
Professionals in law enforcement, social services, medical fields, and other community service providers gathered at John A Logan College Thursday for training on Drug Endangered Children Approach.
"Do you know their definition, if you don’t why not?"
Director of training and development Eric Nation posed this question to the audience to demonstrate how these disciplines that work together might not fully understand how the other one works.
“Until I sit down and tell you what it is I actually do and the laws and the rules that I have to follow, you will never understand truly what I do.”
That lack of communication also affected the community.
“There isn’t a collaborative response, you have people working in silos, you have law enforcement doing their response, you have child welfare doing their response, you have other people doing their response.
Stacee Read is the director of development for DEC.
She says children were being over looked and often continued the cycle abuse and neglect from drug and alcohol use they observed, but by working together and sharing information, early detection will have a better outcome for these children.
“It increases the chance that we’re going to be able to provide more targeted services, we’re going to identify these children earlier.”
Typically these children weren’t identified until later in school or in the juvenile system and by then it can be too late.
“Because we know the multigenerational cycle of abuse and neglect is not only occurring, but it’s very frustrating and if we’re going to break that, it’s going to take the collaboration and team work amongst all disciplines within the community to make that work.”
The DEC says over 2 million children in the country live in homes where a parent uses illicit drugs.