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Drug-endangered children task force calls for coordinated response

The Federal Interagency Task Force for Drug Endangered Children (DEC Task Force) held an event May 31, 2011 to highlight the need for a cohesive and coordinated federal response to the problem of drug-endangered children.

Stemming in part from the methamphetamine crisis, the Drug Endangered Children (DEC) movement began in the last decade to respond to the growing phenomenon of finding children living among the squalor of meth labs located in homes and other areas where children were living or playing.

The children found in these situations were often severely harmed or neglected, and in many instances tested positive for drugs. Local DEC programs were created all over the country and a national DEC program was created in 2003.

Around the country, the DEC movement has rescued thousands of children and led to the development of numerous programs that have coordinated the efforts of law enforcement, medical services, and child welfare services to ensure that drug-endangered children receive appropriate attention and care. As part of the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy, the DEC Task Force will facilitate such a response and work with its state, local and tribal partners to ensure that these children are given the necessary support and services.

The DEC task force has representation from the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Transportation and Interior, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Participants in the May 31, 2011 event included: Attorney General Eric Holder, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, ONDCP Director R. Gil Kerlikowske, DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, the cast from "The Wire" television series, and numerous task force members and key stakeholders.

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