This year the annual Iowa Drug Endangered Children Conference was held in Des Moines on April 4th. Drug Endangered Children (DEC) are part of a very large and growing population of children whose lives have been seriously and negatively impacted by parental or caregiver drug abuse. Hundreds of children across Iowa go unnoticed and do not receive the necessary intervention and care to heal from these abusive environments.
The purpose of this conference was to provide best practices in identifying and caring for drug endangered children. This conference was intended for professionals who work with drug endangered children and their families including those from law enforcement, human services, prosecution, healthcare, mental health, substance abuse treatment and prevention, child development, education, and foster parents. At the completion of this program the participants should be able to list the healing stages for children from addicted families and describe the current drug trends in Iowa. The breakout sessions offered a variety of options for additional education and enhanced participants’ understanding of the benefits of utilizing a Crisis Child Care/ Crisis Nursery program for Drug Endangered Children; differences between cannabis-based medicine and “medical marijuana”, and why they’re important; new localized strategies to protect our children from heroin and opioid use and addiction; the importance of experiential learning as a therapeutic tool; and the role of MDTs in the criminal prosecution of child abuse.
The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition sent two Parents as Teachers staff members to the conference this year. For more information on the Iowa DEC Conference or local prevention work being done by the SAFE Coalition please contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or firstname.lastname@example.org