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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

DEC works to protect children

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The most tragic aspect of the manufacture and use of drugs that now pervades rural areas, is the affect that has on children.

A new organization in Cherokee - Drug Endangered Children (DEC) - now helps the most innocent victims of the drug culture.

"It is really important to have the resources and knowledge to provide care and decontamination for children from homes where drugs are present," said Linda Mummert of the Department of Human Services.

Cherokee County was approved and received recognition from the state as a DEC community effective April 1, 2006 and it runs until Sept. 30, 2006, at which time the organization reapplies on an annual basis.

"We're a brand new group," Mummert said, "Currently, our team is comprised of a variety of different backgrounds. We have local law enforcement, community health, local medical professionals, human services, domestic violence advocates. We have also been working on getting representation from community members, perhaps someone who has first-hand knowledge of concerns and needs for that population."

The DEC group has sent out letters to all registered daycare providers and non-registered DHS approved daycare providers about the emergency childcare for DEC cases.

Services for children start in infancy with screenings of drug endangered newborns and continues on for any child who is removed from a home in which drugs are present.

The most immediate concern for these children is decontamination. Toxic chemicals are used in the manufacture of drugs so clothes need to be replaced and even the children themselves need decontamination.

Besides clothes, the children are provided packages of personal items for brief stays in emergency care.

Volunteers are needed who are willing to provide short-term emergency child care. DEC will train the volunteers. DEC also plans to provide community education about the needs of drug endangered children.

"We really hope to increase community awareness and encourage networking among the different community and team members to enhance our ability to meet the needs of this population," Mummert said.

She advocates that church or civic organizations contact her about the possibility of a service project of putting together overnight bags for children taken out of their homes.

Cash donations are also welcome.

Linda Mummert can be reached at the DHS at 225-6723, ext. 108. Other contact people include Barb Staver at the Cherokee County Law Enforcement Center, 225-6737, and Michelle Goebel at the Cherokee County Public Nurse's Office, 225-6718.

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