Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,185,241)
The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office (PCDAO) is seeking funding for the improvement of its existing Drug Endangered Children Initiative (DECI) program to embed social services with law enforcement in order to rapidly respond to drug overdoses where children are impacted. Opioid addictions, particularly overdoses and fatalities, have created a major public health and safety crisis within Plymouth County. From 2010-2020, Plymouth County had the second highest opioid-related overdose death rate of the fifteen counties in Massachusetts. Of the overdoses in Plymouth County in 2020, 56% were experienced by individuals ages 20-39—the ages most frequently associated with having young children. In these cases, many of these drug-endangered children must learn to cope with the trauma which drug use, overdoses, addiction-related mental health disorders, and removal from the home often cause.
The impact of drug overdoses on a family, especially when young children are involved, is undeniable. The goal of this project is to continue to address the needs of drug-endangered children and advocate for their success. PCDAO will partner with the United Way of Greater Plymouth County Family Resource Center (UWGPC FRC) to fund its DECI Team, including a Clinical Advocate who will accept law enforcement referrals of drug-endangered children. PCDAO will also partner with other community-based organizations to provide training and resources to youth-serving agencies on how to help youth with adverse childhood experiences, particularly those experiencing trauma from familial overdoses, build resilience. PCDAO will work towards the following goal and objectives:
Goal: To reduce the impact of opioids by improving upon the existing Drug-Endangered Children Initiative (DECI) program, including providing support for children affected by drug overdoses and parental/familial opioid abuse.
Objective: Improve police identification of drug-endangered children and increase police referrals to the UWGPC FRC.
Objective: Increase ACEs awareness, DECI referrals to the UWGPC FRC, and Trauma-Sensitive Programming by training local intercepts and adding resilience programming.
Objective: Increase the quality and quantity of direct services, as well as utilize the UWGPC FRC’s vast network of partners, to support children and caregivers.