National Drug Endangered Children Conference

National Drug Endangered Children Conference provided local officials new insights on how to better service children in stressful situations.

By Polson Police Department 

POLSON — The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) conference was held in La Crosse, Wisconsin from July 16-18. Melanie Smith Director of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) Tribal Alliance for DEC, Ronan Police Officer Brandon Smith and Polson Police Sergeant George Simpson were all in attendance for the DEC Conference.

The focus of the conference was to provide practitioners with information on a variety of DEC topics, and serve as an opportunity to discuss issues of common interest with others involved in efforts to identify and provide services to DEC.

“Through the DEC Alliance I have gained the knowledge to focus on the totality of the situation, more than the criminal investigation, with an emphasis toward creating a safe and healthy environment for our children,” said Officer Brando Smith, Ronan Police Department

Some of the conference highlights included training from Jerry Moe the National Director of Children’s Programs from the Betty Ford Center and his seminar Through the Eyes of a Child, and other powerful courses such as Investigating and Prosecuting Child Deaths, Forensic Interviewing of the DEC Victim, DEC Cases Start to Finish, The Drug Endangered Teen, Changing the Conversation for Victims and DEC in Indian Country.

“This training was valuable in the fact that I was able to gain an understanding about the importance of working together as a team with a focus on recuing, defending, sheltering and protecting our precious children,” said Melanie Smith, CSKT Tribal Alliance

Melanie, along with Judge Richard Blake of the Hoopa Valley Tribe (CA) taught the DEC in Indian Country course. “Truly a pleasure to present on issues that affect our children. Collaboration across the country will strengthen our ability to protect our tribal children and enable tribes to be on the forefront of solutions,” saud Judge Richard Blake, Hoopa Valley Tribe

“My biggest takeaway was that addicted adults tend to be yesterday’s children that nobody helped. Sadly, children in these situations are the last ones that receive help; this cannot continue to be the status quo, because they are the first ones hurt. We will seek out innovative solutions anywhere we can find them. This is our duty,” said Sergeant George Simpson, Polson Police Department

For more information on the Community Strong DEC Alliance and how you can help children in your community please contact Melanie Smith at 406-241-1251 or melanie.smith@cskt.org or contact Sgt. Simpson at 406-883-8211 gsimpson@cityofpolson.com

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