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Working with Child Welfare Professionals in Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Efforts

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2020
1 page

This brief publication of the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) provides guidelines for working with child welfare professionals.


This publication issued by National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) provides guidance for working with child welfare professionals in situations where children are endangered by drugs. Professionals working with child welfare as partners should understand how their system works in their state to reduce frustrations, increase efficiency, and increase effectiveness when working together. Child welfare workers have substantial responsibilities and play an important role in helping children and families by investigating child abuse and neglect; identifying/assessing the safety of children; identifying/assessing risks to children; gathering and analyzing information and evidence to inform decisions; assessing family needs; providing targeted resources services; ensuring child safety and well-being; and providing permanency for children. The first line of contact with child welfare that many professionals experience is often the child abuse and neglect hotline. Other professionals should make themselves knowledgeable on questions that will be asked prior to making a child abuse hotline call. Child welfare agencies often use an information-gathering sheet to assist in determining whether it has enough evidence to meet state law requirements for initiating an investigation. Professionals should provide as much information as possible to aid child welfare in determining whether it can and should investigate and become a collaborative partner with child welfare in identifying children who have been abused or neglected or are at significant risk. The information provided to child welfare at any point can help illustrate potential child maltreatment. Detailed information, pictures, and videos from professionals may be critical in enabling child welfare to help the child(ren) and family. The more information provided, the better equipped child welfare is to make decisions about whether to or how best to intervene with the children and families involved. Child welfare often does not have a lot of time to complete a child abuse and neglect investigation.