The Wisconsin Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) recently recognized the Menominee Indian Tribe for its efforts in organizing and developing a community-wide program to respond to the needs of drug endangered children at the DEC's annual statewide conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The Menominee Tribal DEC Program responds to children living in residences where illegal drugs are manufactured, possessed, distributed or used, thus putting these children at particular risk of abuse and neglect.
Two representatives of the tribal program accepted the award presented by Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, Corrections Secretary Gary Hamblin and representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation.
In Wisconsin, a total of 28 DEC programs have been formed at the community and tribal level. A DEC program is a multi-disciplinary team commonly comprised of members from law enforcement, human services, prosecutors, the medical community, the health department, and probation and parole. Other participants may include schools, treatment centers, non-profit groups, faith-based organizations and community members.
Through the DEC program, organizations within a community or tribe work together to enhance their response to the immediate needs of drug-endangered children and to gather adequate evidence to substantiate prosecution of appropriate endangerment and other charges. Specific regional needs and available resources influence the type of DEC program each county or tribe implements.
The DEC initiative in Wisconsin began in November 2004, when a multi-disciplinary focus group met to discuss the national DEC program. A statewide steering committee was formed with approximately 20 members from various disciplines. The Wisconsin Alliance provides guidance to communities in the development of their DEC programs, sponsors an annual statewide DEC conference, and has developed a website for use as a DEC resource.
For further information, visit wisconsindec.org.