Albuquerque, NM, April 28, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- When preventing, investigating and prosecuting drug abuse in Indian Country, the focus is too often on the user, and little thought is given to children in the home, who are often being neglected, abused and even exposed to toxic chemicals. To raise awareness about these children, Lamar Associates – Indian Country Training and the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC) are building on their ongoing partnership to improve early detection and intervention so that Native families get the help they need. This year’s program will include four free webinars designed to guide participants towards solutions that work in their own tribal communities.
Since 2010, the Department of Justice has supported Lamar Associates- Indian Country Training in providing extensive training and technical assistance programs for tribal service professionals on the subject of prescription drug abuse, including over-the-counter drug abuse and so-called “designer” drugs. After training hundreds of service professionals, and after gathering information from scores of tribes, organizers recognized a need to encourage more early intervention and identification of drug endangered children.
The primary challenge in responding to drug endangered children is coordinating the social and political systems charged with prevention, intervention, and treatment. The number, complexity and medical challenges of drug endangered children challenge all practitioners and communities, but the complex and overlapping jurisdictions in Indian County exacerbate the difficulty. Tribal service providers often feel they don't have the staffing or funding to properly handle these cases, much less to effectively prevent them. While this may be true for an individual department or agency, the webinar sessions will explore how resources and funding can be developed through community partnerships.
The webinar trainings support the formation of community-based partnerships that encourage people across multiple disciplines to coordinate their mutual interests, resources and responsibilities. With support, tribal communities can develop strategies and tools that more effectively leverage existing resources. Approaches such as tribal drug and family courts, evidence-based practices and mentoring are effective in creating safer environments for Native children.
The webinar series kicks off on May 1, exploring the Prescription Drugs to Heroin connection. Pharmaceutical drug abuse in Indian Country is a significant factor influencing the high violent crime rate, devastating Native American families, endangering children, and straining resources of tribal law enforcement and service programs. Additionally, the use of prescribed pain medication (opioids) for nonmedical purposes can and does lead to the use of heroin. This webinar will focus on building community-based partnerships, and assisting tribal communities to assess areas of strength and opportunity to create optimal collaboration in protecting our children. Participants will receive tools and resource links that can be used across programs to support mutual values.
July 10, Nadja Jones from the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) will lead the webinar, Establishing a Strength Based Tribal Collaboration for Drug Endangered Children. Identifying children at risk for child abuse and neglect is a key feature of community-based interventions. Assuring the use of culturally appropriate assessment tools and integrating best practice in child welfare are both critical in protecting this at-risk population. Through the use of the NICWA Relational Worldview, participants will be able to assess areas of strength and opportunity for the optimal collaboration in protecting our greatest resource- our children. Participants can expect to receive tools and resource links.
The series continues September 11 with the webinar, Creating Collaboration Through Community Policing. The importance of community collaborating cannot be underestimated. Through collaboration, the community becomes an invested partner in the effort to keep tribal neighborhoods livable and streets safe. The core of community policing is comprised of a double goal: building partnerships and solving problems. Crime and safety is a community issue that requires everyone's efforts to address properly. For more serious problems like drugs, gangs and endangered children, it requires intense and committed effort from all parties involved- much more than a simple decision to work together. However, that hard work does not go unrewarded, as effective collaborations promote team building, a sense of ownership, enthusiasm, and mutual respect between the community and all tribal agencies and organizations that participate in the process.
Lori Moriarty, vice-president of National DEC, will present the final free webinar in the series, Identifying Drug Endangered Children: A Collaborative Approach, on November 6. This webinar will focus on the DEC response, which increases the likelihood of identifying and intervening on behalf of children at risk of neglect and abuse. Responding to the needs of a child in a dangerous drug environment cannot and should not rest with law enforcement alone. Comprehensive partnerships between law enforcement, prosecutors tribal justice systems, child welfare workers, educators and others are critical for the effective protection of these children.
Participants are encouraged to register early to ensure a place. More information on the webinar series, as well as other training opportunities, is available at www.indiancountrytraining.com.