The physical and emotional wellness of children during police drug raids is the topic of discussion for area law enforcement and medical personnel next week.
On Wednesday, the NyE Communities Coalition officials will present what’s called the Drug Endangered Children Seminar at their location at 1020 Wilson Road.
The coalition’s director, Laura Oslund, said the seminar began after a recent drug raid in Colorado where the concern of children living in the drug house came secondary to apprehending the suspected drug dealers.
“For too many years, law enforcement, through no fault of their own, they were more concerned with making the arrest and not concerned with other things that were going on in the suspected house,” she said.
Oslund said after authorities made their arrest, they didn’t realize a child was also living inside the home.
“He had been there all along,” she said. “They had incarcerated the people and this young boy ended up taking care of himself by going to his grandmother’s house because they just took the adults out of the house not realizing there was youth there.”
At the state level, the Nevada Alliance for Drug Endangered Children involves professionals and community members who are addressing health risks and psychological needs of children who are exposed to environments where drugs are used, manufactured or distributed.
Many Nevada communities have developed multi-agency partnerships to better serve these most vulnerable victims.
Oslund said the ultimate goal is to rescue, defend, shelter and support Nevada’s drug endangered children.
“We need to look at how often we are coming into these houses and there’s children present and they were aware of them, or they were not aware of them being there,” she said.
Oslund applauded the efforts of several local agencies including Court Appointed Special Advocates and the Department of Child and Family Services, for the work they perform on behalf of children, but much more can be done.
“Teachers, first responders and even fire department personnel can benefit from this seminar, but this is for everybody,” she said. “Even neighbors can play a role. If they see a child out at 1 a.m., they can report it. This seminar really is for anybody and everybody.”
The seminar coincides with National Child Abuse Awareness Day.
Oslund said there will include a panel of agency experts to answer questions regarding the safety of children.
The presentation is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.