By Kaylee Pfeiferling, Multimedia Journalist - email
QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -
According to the West Central Illinois Drug Task Force, 18 children were found living in homes with a meth lab last year in Adams County. So far this year, authorities have found six kids in this dangerous environment.
"Adams County is one of those areas in our state that continues to see problems stemming from methamphetamine production," Dr. Kate Sheridan with the Illinois State University School of Social Work said.
For the past three years, Adams County has led the state in meth lab seizures. Nationally, children were involved in approximately 20 percent of meth lab seizures.
"We know that these children have significant trauma histories," Sheridan said.
On Thursday, various organizations throughout the area came together for the 2014 All Our Kids Summit. Sheridan spoke at the event, focusing on the mental health outcomes and traumatic experiences of children from methamphetamine-affected homes in Illinois.
"When children go to school it can be problematic because they're having to deal with stigma and discrimination because so many other people know what has happened in their family," Sheridan said.
Sheridan says it's important that local service providers have the right information on why kids from meth-affected homes may be acting a certain way and the best treatment methods.
"Typically the children that we're seeing have a lot of mistrust of the adults in their lives," Assistant Director for Clinical Services at Chaddock Kathy Nelson said.
Chaddock's foster and adoption services offer a counseling center for kids who are taken from a meth-affected home.
"Sometimes they have issues with sleeping well, having a hard time paying attention or getting distracted at school," Nelson said.
Even though the kids have been through a traumatic experience, Nelson says they try to encourage them to talk about and be in charge of their feelings and emotions.
"By working through their feelings and processing the things that have happened to them, they can certainly lessen the effect it will have on them later in life," Nelson said.
If kids from meth homes don't get counseling or the help they need, Sheridan says they're more likely to follow in their parents footsteps of abusing drugs and alcohol.
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