Destination – Successful DEC Alliance

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National Alliance for Drug Endangerd Chi

Roadmap to the DEC Approach

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This roadmap and toolkit are designed to consolidate all the information needed to form a Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Alliance and provide resources (including samples from existing alliances) to help the formation proceed smoothly. The figure above shows the three stages of developing a DEC Alliance: Awareness, Implementation, and Institutionalization.  A DEC alliance connects local practitioners from many disciplines together to provide a mechanism for sustaining cross-disciplinary and inter-agency collaboration and facilitate ongoing changes in policies and practices. When a formal group comes together, they are stronger; they will have more information to identify drug endangered children and be able to assist them in a variety of ways instead of working in fragmented siloes.

The first key component of helping drug endangered children is establishing a clear understanding of the risks children face when their caregivers are engaged in drug activity or substance use. This knowledge highlights the need for collaborative efforts to help these children and their families and motivates practitioners to look at how they can do their jobs more effectively to provide better outcomes for drug endangered children, families, and communities.

Enhancing awareness about drug endangered children is an ongoing part of National DEC’s mission and provides the foundation for taking action to implement and sustain the collaborative DEC Approach*. To help practitioners create awareness, the first section of this publication focuses on the steps practitioners can take to spread awareness among their colleagues, across other professions, and throughout the community.

The second stage is taking action. This will be done by sharing a common vision, ongoing collaboration, and ongoing change. Having a common vision will help practitioners and community members be on the same page sharing common goals; ongoing collaboration allows practitioners to continue asking themselves who is missing from the DEC Alliance, allows for sharing information and making each discipline stronger; and ongoing change will assist in making responsive changes to how practitioners do their jobs. National DEC has developed training curricula and other resources to help implement changes and put true collaboration into practice.

To help practitioners implement actions to help drug endangered children, the second section of this publication focuses on the steps practitioners can take to collaborate with other disciplines and improve their methods, identification, and response to drug endangered children.

The third stage in creating a DEC alliance is institutionalizing efforts and the alliance. Institutionalizing efforts will allow for continued efforts over many years as well as a platform for when new issues or concerns arise. To help practitioners institutionalize collaborative relationships, the third section of this publication focuses on the steps practitioners can take to and formalize local DEC alliances.

Use the Interactive Roadmap above to learn more about each step!


The DEC Approach is a multidisciplinary strategy to change the trajectory of a drug endangered child’s life through a common vision, ongoing collaboration, and ongoing change, which increases the likelihood of better outcomes for drug endangered children. The next sections will focus on these three components in depth.