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Working with Service Providers 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 service providers in the context of drug endangered children.


This publication by the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) offers guidelines for working with service providers in the situations where children are endangered by drugs. Service providers play an important role in identifying children in need as well as helping children and families to heal and grow. Service providers can have backgrounds in many different areas, including addiction and recovery, mental health, alternative modalities, faith, and counseling/therapy. They may be involved with a family that has a substance use disorder and may be called to help the children and the family in a variety of ways, including helping keep children safe in their home; providing in-home intensive services; helping keep children near their support system of friends, family, school, and extended family; providing prevention services when early identification is made; helping children work through recent and past trauma; helping parents with substance use disorders and/or mental health issues; completing assessments to guide treatment options; making referrals to other targeted services; and providing parenting classes. These service professions often have their own set of laws, regulations, and policies under which they abide and work. In most states, service providers are mandatory reporters who can assist in providing child welfare and others with needed information around the safety and well-being of children in order to keep children safe and support engagement of families in targeted services. Even though service providers’ information may be confidential at times, they can still offer necessary pieces to other professionals including: education on the signs and symptoms of trauma; education on addiction and recovery as well as mental health issues; information on what information and evidence can be helpful in treating and providing services to children and families impacted by addiction; and Information about what services are needed, necessary, and available.