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The Drug Epidemic Impacts Our Children, Families, and Programs

by Jerry Parr
July/August 2005
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/the-drug-epidemic-impacts-our-children-families-and-programs/5016418/

Since October 1, 2003 I have been traveling across the country working with and visiting early childhood programs of every size, shape, and demographic. I have been in 32 states and two countries, in urban and rural settings. I have observed an alarming common denominator during discussions with staff and community members in almost 100 percent of these programs: the rising impact of the local manufacture, distribution, and use of methamphetamines in rural America and its increasing impact on early childhood.

Almost without fail the discussion leads to anecdotes of homes in served communities blowing up as a result of a meth lab accident; to children missing from the center for weeks while their parents are incarcerated or too incapacitated to get them to the pre-school, or, as likely, too afraid of being discovered by an alert child care staff. I have listened to stories of wrestling matches between caregivers and social service systems as teachers and directors try to argue for continuity of care while court decisions are being made about the fate of innocent children. I have wept alongside a home base teacher as she described her role in the discovery of a meth lab and the resulting destruction of ...

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