Roadmap & Toolkit
Roadmap to the DEC Approach
The roadmap and toolkit are designed to consolidate all the information needed to form a Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Alliance and provide resources (including samples from existing alliances) to help the formation proceed smoothly. A DEC alliance connects local practitioners from many disciplines together to provide a mechanism for sustaining cross-disciplinary and inter-agency collaboration and facilitate ongoing changes in policies and practices. When a formal group comes together, they are stronger; they will have more information to identify drug endangered children and be able to assist them in a variety of ways instead of working in fragmented siloes.
The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children has established an 8-week Academy to help walk individuals or groups wanting to formalize DEC efforts, through the Roadmap and Toolkit. This Academy will provide access to our Roadmap and Toolkit Portal that houses many of our developed and widely used tools. National DEC Staff will provide coaching to assist with the use of tools and development of resources, facilitate discussion and answer questions. Learn more about the Academy at the description below.
Awareness—the first key component of helping drug endangered children is establishing a clear understanding of the risks children face when their caregivers are engaged in drug activity or substance misuse. This knowledge highlights the need for collaborative efforts to help these children and their families and motivates practitioners to look at how they can do their jobs more effectively to provide better outcomes for drug endangered children, families, and communities.
Enhancing awareness about drug endangered children is an ongoing part of National DEC’s mission and provides the foundation for taking action to implement and sustain the collaborative DEC Approach*.
The second stage is taking action; implementation. This will be done by sharing a common vision, ongoing collaboration, and ongoing change. Having a common vision will help practitioners and community members be on the same page sharing common goals; ongoing collaboration allows practitioners to continue asking themselves who is missing from the DEC alliance, allows for sharing information and making each discipline stronger; and ongoing change will assist in making responsive changes to how practitioners do their jobs. National DEC has developed training curricula and other resources to help implement changes and put true collaboration into practice.
The third stage in creating a DEC alliance is institutionalizing efforts and the alliance. Institutionalizing efforts will allow for continued efforts over many years as well as a platform for when new issues or concerns arise.
* The DEC Approach is a multidisciplinary strategy to change the trajectory of a drug endangered child’s life through a common vision, ongoing collaboration, and ongoing change, which increases the likelihood of better outcomes for drug endangered children.
Destination – Successful DEC Alliance
Select a tab below to learn about each stage of the Roadmap
Stage 1: Awareness about Drug Endangered Children
One of the key components of the drug endangered children mission is a clear understanding of the risks that children face when their caregivers are engaged in drug activity and substance misuse. This knowledge highlights the need for collaborative efforts to help these children and their families and motivates practitioners to look at how they can do their jobs differently to increase the chances of better outcomes for drug endangered children, families, and the communities they serve. Enhancing awareness about drug endangered children is an ongoing part of the DEC mission and it provides the foundation for taking action to implement and sustain the collaborative DEC Approach.
To build awareness of the issues of facing drug endangered children, information must be disseminated in a variety of formats. National DEC has developed training, brochures, publications, fact sheets, and other information to assist practitioners and communities in providing awareness. The following are some examples that will assist in spreading awareness.
- Distribute—throughout the community—print or email copies of National DEC’s Brochure, which provides a brief overview of National DEC. Further information can be provided through the About National DEC sheet and What is the DEC Mission? sheet.
- National DEC’s state and local alliances have also created awareness items for dissemination that may be helpful to others, including:
- For caregivers, National DEC created a fact sheet that explains What Caregivers Should Know. This sheet provides those that may care for children exposed to substance abuse or drug activity information about these children and what they might experience.
Annual DEC Awareness Day
National DEC and its network of state, tribal, and local DEC alliances, along with other professionals across the nation, have designated the fourth Wednesday of April for focusing on drug endangered children awareness. On this day, individuals, agencies, disciplines, and communities across the United States and Canada come together with a common vision to help provide awareness on what issues and risks drug endangered children face and what can be done to identify, protect, and help these children. National DEC developed an informational sheet to provide further information about DEC Awareness Day and provides examples and ideas. Ideas for Promoting an Annual DEC Awareness Day
Training is one of the best ways to bring awareness around an issue. National DEC offers free trainings for professionals and community members to take at their convenience; these trainings can be shared through email and social media to encourage participation. See National DEC’s free online trainings here.
For a fee, National DEC provides many other trainings to help develop awareness, guide, and support DEC efforts.
- The purpose of this academy is to support state, regional, tribal, and local communities or individuals in developing and building their efforts, as well as establishing alliances for drug endangered children by providing training, technical assistance, and coaching sessions. The 5-week academy consists of 2-hour sessions plus the opportunity for one targeted coaching session. Sessions include Orientation and Online Training Modules, DEC Awareness, DEC Approach, Marijuana: The Danger Remains, and Intersection of DEC and Human Trafficking.
- This Academy focuses on how to implement the DEC Roadmap and Toolkit to enhance and build DEC efforts and a multidisciplinary DEC Alliance. The DEC Roadmap and Toolkit focuses on three stages: Awareness, Implementation and Institutionalization. This Academy will help prepare participants for each stage when your alliance is ready to move forward. Some of the steps, handouts and resources will not be used directly with your alliance during the 8-week Academy as your alliance may not be at that stage during the academy, but will be utilized during the further development of the alliance. The information learned and access to the resource portal will allow your alliance to develop and grow at its own pace. Participants of the Academy will be provided training as well as gain access to the National DEC Roadmap and Toolkit resources and handouts portal. They will receive weekly support and coaching from National DEC Staff throughout the 8-week Academy. The Academy sessions include Roadmap and Toolkit Introduction, Capacity Building and Collaboration, Awareness Stage, Awareness Coaching, Implementation Stage, Implementation Coaching, Institutionalization State, Institutionalization Coaching.
- The DEC Awareness Training helps participants gain awareness about drug endangered children, the risks they face and the long-term impacts; understand the many opportunities to identify children at risk; learn the importance of early identification and intervention to change the trajectories of the lives of drug endangered children and break multigenerational cycles.
- During this introductory training, participants will learn and understand the connections between drug and endangered children and human trafficking which are often overlooked by many disciplines. Definitions, statistics and case examples will be shared to help participants recognize the vulnerabilities, understand the intersections, and what can be done to identify and intervene.
National DEC Staff provides trainings at training events, conferences, community meetings, and other venues. See our available Trainings and Technical Assistance page to learn more about what we can offer. To schedule a training email [email protected].
Through our Train-the-Trainer program, National DEC also certifies practitioners to be DEC Trainers who can provide DEC Awareness Training in their communities. To learn more about a Train-the-Trainer session email [email protected].
Identify Leadership, Disciplines, and Agencies to be involved in a DEC Alliance
Any community member or anyone from any discipline or profession can initiate a local DEC effort, but it cannot be done alone. Searching for potential, experienced practitioners whose work could aid local efforts to identify, protect, and serve drug endangered children requires creative, collaborative thinking. Remember, everyone has something to offer; you may be surprised by the people or disciplines who are able to assist the most.
The more practitioners and disciplines involved, the more effective and the greater impact a local DEC effort will have. However, there is likely to be a smaller group of key partners and motivated practitioners who will dedicate the time and energy to getting a local DEC alliance up and running.
To help identify potential partners, National DEC created a worksheet that can be used throughout DEC efforts. This tool, along with many other beneficial tools and resources are made available to participants of the Roadmap and Toolkit Academy. Contact National DEC Staff at [email protected].
Assess Your Community
Take a look at the needs of your community to identify specific issues that need to be addressed and resources available to assist with DEC efforts. National DEC recommends completing a community assessment to gather and analyze relevant data, identify areas where there are gaps and where there are strengths, and then start to identify areas to focus on next. The assessment should be conducted through a local DEC alliance or professionals working on DEC efforts to compile data from multiple disciplines to show how substance abuse is impacting children and families in communities. Once gathered and completed, the assessment can be disseminated with the approval of your supervisor. National DEC’s Drug Endangered Children Community Assessment, along with many other beneficial tools and resources are made available to participants of the Roadmap and Toolkit Academy. Contact National DEC Staff at [email protected].
Connect with National DEC
Practitioners can connect with National DEC in a variety of ways for a variety of things. National DEC’s website includes information on upcoming training and webinars, and information on state and local DEC alliances, as well as ways to ask questions, request DEC training and contact National DEC staff. Practitioners can also connect via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to obtain a wide array of information on drug activity and substance abuse and the risks they pose to children, families, and communities.