Friday, July 5, 2013

Reporting Drug Endangered Children

Most Indian Country doctors, teachers, police officers, social workers and mental health professionals understand that they are mandated reporters for child abuse, but not as many understand how to recognize the signs of a child who is living in a drug endangered environment. Fewer still know how to collect evidence to support removing the child—or children— from their home. The National Alliance For Drug Endangered Children and Indian Country Training are reaching out with free training for  Indian Country professionals, so we can work together to make sure kids don't suffer for their parents' drug or alcohol abuse.

People who see a child frequently, like teachers and school resource officers, may notice a child who is malnourished, or consistently unkempt or smelly, particularly if the child often smells like chemicals. Children from homes where their caregivers are abusing drugs or alcohol often mimic their elders' behavior by cursing, inappropriate touching, promiscuity, drug experimentation, and disturbing play. Sometimes the parents appear impaired, over-explaining circumstances, failing to get their kids to school or showing up to events, or sending various non-relatives to pick up the children from school.

Poverty or parental illness may explain some of these things, so every effort should be made to determine if this is the case.  But if a pattern emerges, and the child's mental, physical or emotional health seems impacted, then the case should be reported by calling the Indian Country Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-663-5155. You may remain anonymous, but you'll have to report the child's name, age and tribal affiliation; whether the child is in danger; a location and telephone number where the child can be found; and the parent(s)'s names, tribal affiliation and contact information. You will be asked to describe the indicators that led you to believe the child is a victim of abuse or neglect.

For more specific information about DEC reporting, as well as the protocols for collecting evidence and collaborating with law enforcement and child protective agencies, join us for our free upcoming webinars or for one of our regional training sessions (coming up in Phoenix and Spokane).
Establishing a Strength-Based Tribal Collaboration for Drug Endangered Children
July 10, 2013 at 10am MST
Presenter: Nadja Jones
Click to Register

Identifying Drug Endangered Children: A Collaborative Approach
November 6, 2013 at 10am MST
Presenter: Lori Moriarty, National DEC
Click to Register

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