(Contest Nominee) COLORADO DEC Works to Bring New Hope to Children Affected by Parental Substance Abuse

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its next Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from November 3-17, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results. 

“At our core we are a child abuse and neglect prevention agency,” explained Jade Woodward, the executive director for the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (Colorado DEC). Unfortunately, there are a myriad of ways for children to be neglected or abused. Colorado DEC focuses its efforts to help children impacted as a result of substance abuse by the parent or caregiver.

The Colorado DEC’s goal is prevent any type of child neglect or abuse from womb to school-aged children through training, education and outreach with law enforcement, caseworkers, medical professionals, families and community leaders.

The nonprofit looks to act amidst two primary scenarios of child endangerment.  The first involves children exposed prenatally to drugs or alcohol, which can make them prone to a variety of developmental issues. The next are kids in the care of a person abusing drugs or alcohol.

They start with the most innocent of victims with their Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee that focuses on preventing drug use during pregnancy. “We do a ton of education to parents about why they shouldn’t use drugs when pregnant and what the impacts could be,” says Woodard. They offer support and resources through a hotline for women who have questions or want help.  Unfortunately, not all parents are able to stop using, so Colorado DEC partners with hospitals and other medical providers to help determine when it’s appropriate for law enforcement or child protective services to intervene to ensure the baby’s health and safety.

The group’s Drug Endangered Children Tracking System provides law enforcement and child welfare agencies an automated process for quickly identifying children at risk during a drug-related arrest.

“We have found that about 70% of children would not have been identified without this program. They were not there when the arrest happened but were found out later to be abused or neglected based on what the parent was arrested for,” said Woodard.

Colorado DEC’s Family and Community Connections program offers support, education and outreach for a variety of substance use issues. The goal is to raise awareness of community resources and help get the impacted parents into a treatment program, help them stay clean, and teach them how to rebuild relationships with their children that were damaged while they were using.

But, Woodard stresses, it’s not only illegal substances that can put children in harm’s way. Parents who use legal substances such as prescription medications, alcohol and, now, marijuana, need to learn how to use it in a manner that doesn’t jeopardize the safety of their children.

“If you’re going to use alcohol or drugs recreationally or for medical purposes, you should have another caretaker around, and make sure you’re locking up your medicine, liquor, marijuana edibles, etc.”

Colorado DEC was founded in 2003 by law enforcement professionals, medical providers, and subject matter experts, as a result of the methamphetamine lab epidemic. Kids living in these meth labs were exposed to toxic chemicals and dangerous explosions, on top of the fact that they were being neglected by meth users. In the organization’s early years, the nonprofit focused on advocacy to change the laws to ensure child safety. Since then, they’ve expanded to training, education, outreach and awareness.

Woodard says that as a non-profit, donations are always welcomed but the community can best help them by becoming advocates for the cause. It’s critical to help raise awareness that pregnancy and alcohol/drugs don’t mix, and neither does substance use and parenting.

“We want to make sure that all kids have a parent that is engaged, aware, involved and supervising appropriately as well as connecting with the child in a loving manner, which is so important,” explained Woodard.

Another Reason to Vote for Colorado DEC
A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would go toward helping them develop a new outreach campaign to help spread their message via educational materials and social media to targeted groups about substance use while pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for children.

For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ColoradoDEC.org or follow them on Facebook.


How to Give Colorado DEC a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the November contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about Colorado DEC on the Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and Colorado DEC with your family, friends, and coworkers

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 16-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – November 3-17, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within Colorado (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 16-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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