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Exposure to Drugs or Alcohol Abuse

Exposure to Drugs or Alcohol Abuse

The Federal Interagency Task Force for Drug Endangered Children defines drug-endangered children in this way:

A drug endangered child is a person, under the age of 18, who lives in or is exposed to an environment where drugs, including pharmaceuticals, are illegally used, possessed, trafficked, diverted, and/or manufactured and, as a result of that environment: the child experiences, or is at risk of experiencing, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; the child experiences, or is at risk of experiencing, medical, educational, emotional, or physical harm, including harm resulting or possibly resulting from neglect; or the child is forced to participate in illegal or sexual activity in exchange for drugs or in exchange for money likely to be used to purchase drugs.1

Children of incarcerated parents are more likely to have faced exposure to drug and alcohol abuse in their homes than other children.2


Drug Endangered Children 
As part of the President’s 2010 National Drug Control Strategy (PDF, 126 pages), the Department of Justice established the Federal Interagency Task Force on Drug Endangered Children to support the identification of model protocols, programming, and best practices related to this issue. This website includes a compilation of related resources and a toolkit of promising practices to assist state, local, and tribal governments in identifying, responding to, and providing services for drug-endangered children.

Promising Practices Toolkit: Working With Drug Endangered Children and Their Families 
This toolkit is a compilation of practices identified through an assessment of promising practices in the field and of training modules provided by federal, state, local, tribal, and community-based providers across the country by the Drug Endangered Children Task Force Federal Partnerships Subcommittee. It is separated into three categories: (1) increasing awareness of drug endangered children (“Awareness”), (2) fostering community collaboration (“Collaboration”), and (3) creating a more effective response (“Response”). The intent of this toolkit is to provide guidance and resources to professionals in identifying, responding to, and serving drug endangered children. For each identified practice, the toolkit provides information about the practice (“what is working”), information about how this practice can be helpful (“why it works”), and information and other resources to assist people in implementing the practice in their community (“how to get started”), such as checklists and useful websites.

1 Federal Interagency Task Force for Drug Endangered Children, 2010
2 CDC, 2013; Phillips & Gleeson, 2007

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