LOOKING OUT: Identifying Drug Endangered Children

A parent’s bad habits can ruin the lives of their children.

“It can be the use of drugs in a household, the manufacturing of drugs, or the cultivation of drugs,” said Dale Woolery, the associate director for the Governor’s Office for Drug Control Policy.

Last year, drug task forces reported 450 cases of drug endangered children to the Iowa Department of Human Services.

“We know there is a lot of children who haven’t been counted who might be in harm’s way,” said Woolery.

Children living in these homes are often victims of physical abuse, psychological abuse, and are often too afraid to come forward.

It’s up to the other adults in a child’s life to do it for them.

At the 7th annual Drug Endangered Children Conference, professionals from teachers to social workers learned what to look for.

Jennifer Sleighter, a nurse practitioner at Blank Children’s Hospital says some of the signs are obvious.

“We’ll often see medical neglect. They may not be making it to school. They may not be receiving the food or clothing the need,” said Sleighter.

Once a sign is recognized, it’s important for people to know where to turn.

“Anytime anyone identifies one of these signs, I recommend contacting DHS. It’s better to stay on the side of safety,” Sleighter told Channel 13 News.

Professionals also had the opportunity to view exhibits teaching them what various illegal drugs look like and how to identify them.