OVC Provider Forum Transcript

Support and Services for Drug-Endangered Children
Pamela Todd, Diane Payne  -  2016/7/13
Which are the best services for Drug-Endangered Children (supported by research and data)? Also, what ages constitute a drug-endangered child?
1.  Diane
 When the community has a DEC team, schools are included not only in the team, but also afforded opportunity to participate in training and developing prevention initiatives. Best Practice for DEC teams is to include all agencies that touch the lives of drug endangered children at any point.
2.  Richard Seitz
 Two agencies sell it. Paxis Institute in Arizona led by Dr. Dennis Embry and American Institute of Research in Washington which did the Hopkins study. AIR is like AT&T, Paxis is Apple of the 70s. Embry refined GBG to be easily learned in one day, and used by one teacher or an entire school. Reduced principal referrals in my first school by 50% in three months and only a third of the teachers had been trained. Depending on how you arrange the training, the cost is between $350 and $500 per teacher, one time, no added charges. My county trains 30-50 teachers for about $15,000. rseitz@co.ocean.nj.us
3.  Richard Seitz
 in 2010 Dr. Elizabeth Robertson, then chief of prevention research for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, called the Hopkins study results "stunning." She said, "What we are seeing is a change in the life-course trajectories of these kids as a result of putting them on the right path early on." If GBG were to be widely adopted in schools, she added, the public health impact could be huge. NIDA Notes. “Behavior Game Played in Primary Grades Reduces Later Drug-Related Problems.” Volume 23, Number 1, April 2010. National Institute on Drug Abuse. http://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2010/04/behavior-game-played-in-primary-grades-reduces-later-drug-related-problems
4.  Richard Seitz
 Yes, I have seen it implemented and done years of research on it. My wife and I were teachers. I run a school-based mentoring program out of a juvenile detention center. My Youth services commission sponsored a training and several schools sent teachers to it. Applies to all pupils which takes the stigma off individuals. Will post links in a bit.
5.  Taylor Mace
 Great information. I will have to do some digging into this program, and see where I can get it implemented. Thanks!
6.  Richard Seitz
 Problem is, only a good investigation by a child welfare agency and child evaluator will reveal the damage done to a child. Treatment would vary depending on the damage. A universal program in the primary grades such as Pax GBG - well GBG is the only universal program that has proven data of its widespread healthy impact- reduces the damage and provides the child with the ability to resist outside negative influences by improving the decision making circuits in the pre-frontal cortex. GBG was shown to reduce substance abuse disorders by 50% 15 years after being used in first grade in the Baltimore school district, as tough a place as any and loaded with DEC.
7.  Taylor Mace
 Do you have any first hand experience implementing this PAX GBG? Is it used solely as a preventative method for endangered children, or in general to keep children focused on the right path in school?
8.  Dr. Pamela Todd
 Yes, this applies to children exposed before birth; however there are no preventive methods that can be used.
9.  Diane
 This document provides good information regarding services for drug endangered children http://www.nationaldec-conference.org/goopages/pages_downloadgallery/downloadget.php?filename=17712.pdf
10.  Diane
 The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children defines a "drug endangered child" as children who are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm as a result of illegal drug use, manufacturing, cultivation or distribution. They may also be children whose caregiver's misuse of substances or whose givers use of these substances impairs their ability to parent and provide a safe and nurturing environment." Children prenatally exposed are also drug endangered children.
11.  Taylor Mace
 Does this include those children who are exposed to the illegal use of drugs before birth? Are there prevention methods for this?
12.  Dr. Pamela Todd
 According to the Federal Interagency Task force for Endangered Children (2010), A drug endangered child is a person, under the age of 18, who lives in or is exposed to an environment where drugs, including pharmaceuticals, are illegally used, possessed, trafficked, diverted, and/or manufactured and, as a result of that environment: the child experiences, or is at risk of experiencing, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; the child experiences, or is at risk of experiencing, medical, educational, emotional, or physical harm, including harm resulting or possibly resulting from neglect; or the child is forced to participate in illegal or sexual activity in exchange for drugs or in exchange for money likely to be used to purchase drugs.”
13.  Richard Seitz
 CBT, Cognitive Behavioral therapy is often recommended and has much evidenced based support, but I would suggest a universal strategy for elementary school children called Pax GBG. Problem is, you need to get the school to train its teachers and few schools know about Pax.
What training and resources do you recommend to help school staff recognize potential drug-endangered children?
1.  Dr. Pamela Todd
 The National Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center and the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children provide assistance with education and awareness.
Are the different approaches, interventions, etc. that are employed depending on the type of drug a child is exposed to? alcohol vs. meth vs. cocaine for example?
1.  Diane
 Yes. It is important to understand not only the type of drug use but how long it has been going on, whether in addition to using,the caregivers are also manufacturing and/or dealing. The age and vulnerability of the child in this environment also affects the intervention. Not only is it important to understand each drug and how it affects the user, but also to know how child development, brain development and toxic stress occurs for children at different ages. I highly recommend joint multidisciplinary training on each aspect of these issues.
2.  Dr. Pamela Todd
 The interventions and/or approaches are not based on the drug, it's based on the individual need. For example, the amount of drugs used, length of time, etc.
Do you have any recommendations on starting a DEC task force?
1.  Diane
 There are good tools to help you start a DEC team at www.nationaldec.org. National DEC provides training and technical assistance to communities who want to improve their collaboration efforts also. There are many other resources on this page too - take a look!
What are the long term impacts of exposure to chemicals used in meth labs?
1.  Diane
 There is a lot of research on children exposed to meth chemicals. Again it depends on what chemicals are used and the length of time the child was exposed. Some research articles can be found at https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2012/12/prenatal-methamphetamine-exposure-linked-problems
2.  Dr. Pamela Todd
 Chronic exposure to the chemicals typically used in meth manufacture may cause cancer; damage the brain, liver, kidney, spleen, and immunologic system; and result in birth defects. Normal cleaning will not remove methamphetamine and some of the chemicals used to produce it. They may remain on eating and cooking utensils, floors, counter-tops, and absorbent materials. Toxic byproducts of meth manufacturing are often improperly disposed outdoors, endangering children and others who live, eat, play, or walk at or near the site.
Do you have any protocols for interviewing children?
1.  Diane
 The National Children's Advocacy Center www.nationalcac.org provides forensic interview protocols that are well established nationally. Forensic interviewers need to understand the dynamics of drug endangered environments to recognize cues children give about abuse, neglect, sexual violence and other things that may happen in the presence of children.
Do you know of a quick reference for officers at scenes where DEC is suspected? Looking for something quick and simple.
1.  Diane
 COPS Office has developed some good reference materials - for quick reference. Check out http://ric-zai-inc.com/Publications/cops-p293-pub.pdf and contact National DEC for specific information related to your state.
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