National DEC – 2020
The DEC approach is a multidisciplinary strategy to change the trajectory of drug endangered children’s lives through a common vision, ongoing collaboration, and
ongoing change. These elements assist in increasing the likelihood of better outcomes for children, families, and communities. This approach allows various disciplines to
perform their job duties while also assisting in meeting the needs of drug endangered children. Law enforcement professionals see the risks and consequences of drug activity and its destructive impact on children every day. With a focus on public safety, law enforcement agents are trained to identify illegal activity, which may include abuse and neglect of children. Within the DEC approach law enforcement is a crucial entity in identifying children at risk of harm due to drug activity as well as a crucial part of a system focused on helping children. The DEC approach recognizes the likelihood of harm and the extensive risks that drug endangered children face. It creates a collaborative mindset among law enforcement officers, child welfare workers, prosecutors, and other practitioners in an effort to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. All disciplines play an equally important and vital part in the DEC approach. The DEC approach recognizes that children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs are three times more likely than other children to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused and four times more likely to be neglected. Recognizing that these children need earlier identification and intervention is the first step in assisting them and changing the trajectory of their lives. Law enforcement has a unique opportunity to be involved in children’s lives and make a positive difference. National DEC’s “Children + Drugs = Risk” perspective and trainings recognize that law enforcement and other disciplines can perform a critical role in their everyday work by identifying children at risk, gathering evidence and information, and sharing evidence with other disciplines. Upon completion of the DEC approach trainings, law enforcement will have the necessary tools to paint a more complete picture of the child’s life and the potential risks they are facing. The information gathered will further serve to enhance and streamline the identification of services available for children at risk.