Drug conference to focus on kids
When drug scenes involve children, the crime is not only drug abuse—it’s also child abuse.
Finding out how to better help those children is the purpose of the Drug Endangered Children (DEC) conference to be presented by the Rainy River District Substance Abuse Prevention Team at the Adventure Inn here Sept. 18-19.
Tiffany Clifford-Smith, the United Native Friendship Centre’s aboriginal alcohol and drug worker and an SAPT member, said the conference is aimed at professionals who work front-line with children and families.
These include child-care workers, health workers and educators, police officers, counsellors, and Native Alcohol Drug Abuse Program workers.
The cost to attend is $150 plus tax. Contact Agnes Ruppenstein at 274-3261 ext. 4804 or via e-mail at email@example.com to register.
Alternately, you can contact Clifford-Smith at 274-8541 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Clifford-Smith said the DEC approach, which is a child-centered response to helping children endangered by drugs, is something new to the district.
“It hasn’t been done in the Fort Frances/Rainy River District yet; it’s something new that’s coming here,” she noted.
“The reason why we’re having it here is I went to a conference in Thunder Bay that the Thunder Bay Police put on, and it really inspired me to bring it here,” added Clifford-Smith.
“It really talks about working together for children who are being brought up in homes where there’s drug being grown, like grow-ops, or where their parents are doing drugs in front of them,” she explained.
“It’s a really child-centered approach. “
The conference aims to establish better communication and improve the working environment and procedures between police, child-care workers, health workers, and educators, as well as share practices that have been helping communities better protect children.
“It’s really about the different agencies working together to make the best possible outcome for these families,” Clifford-Smith stressed.
The presenters include Dr. Kiti Freier Randall, a pediatric neurodevelopment psychologist and a member of the National Alliance for DEC Neurodevelopmental and Psychosocial Assessment & Intervention in the U.S.
She also is a member of the DEC steering committee in Canada.
Randall will be joined by Cpl. Heather Dickinson, the provincial DEC co-ordinator for Ontario, and Pearl Rimer, manager of the Child and Youth Advocacy Centre at Boost (Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention Program), both of whom hail from Toronto.
Gail Cartwright, a Halton Region Family & Children Services worker who has used the DEC program for many years, also will be on hand.
Other presenters include Peggy Shaughnessy of Whitepath Consultants (Peterborough), a drug abuse prevention program for First Nations’ communities, along with Melanie Buckshot and Dan Morrisseau of Weechi-it-te-win Family Services here.
Elder Gilbert Smith will perform traditional opening and closing ceremonies.