Arkansas Program Background

The Criminal Justice Institute (CJI) has been the lead organization in Arkansas for the Maltreatment and Drug Endangered Children (DEC) Initiative since January 2005.

Working cooperatively with organizations across the state (including DHS: Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Community Corrections, Office of the State Drug Director, Children’s Hospital, Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division (CACD), drug treatment providers, as well as local police chiefs and sheriffs throughout Arkansas) a groundbreaking two-day course was developed and implemented across Arkansas.

Evolution to Accreditation

The original two-day Maltreatment and DEC Collaboration Workshops focused primarily on improving the relationships between law enforcement and DCFS during Maltreatment and DEC investigations. These workshops were conducted from 2006 – 2015 in order to cover all 23 Judicial Circuits while being coordinated and funded by CJI for the benefit of the local communities.

By 2012, discussions have taken place to evolve the original concept in order to sustain the practices through certification of competence and verification. The integrity of the community effort was awarded by CJI, the accrediting organization. Three pilot communities were chosen to test this new concept in 2016 (Garland, Saline, and White Counties) and the program is now being implemented throughout the state of Arkansas.

This program seeks to integrate the tools within both the Criminal Justice System and the Human Services System for breaking the cycles of child maltreatment, reduction in overall child trauma, and improving positive youth and family outcomes.


An official body (CJI) to give certification or sanction to local Arkansas communities when recognized standards have been met.

Maltreatment and DEC Accreditation Overview:

Initial Maltreatment and DEC Accreditation is a process involving the Core Partner Organizations within your county. Maltreatment and DEC Accreditation status will be in effect for 3 years from the time of award before a review is required.

The general accreditation standards are as follows:

  • Standard 1: The Candidacy Process including a formal application, data collection, and agreements with CJI to participate with all the requirements necessary for accreditation.
  • Standard 2: The criterion contained within Standard 2 focuses on the beginning stage of accreditation which includes initial training, utilization of after-action reports, conducting monthly stakeholder meetings and implementation of the PAYCheck protocols.
  • Standard 3: This area focuses on the process of policy implementation and MOU between the core partner organizations in order to sustain the Maltreatment and DEC practices indefinitely.
  • Standard 4: The first three standards of this program focus on Initial Accreditation status. Standard four addresses the ongoing requirements for the Continuing Accreditation standing.

The Goals of Maltreatment and DEC Accreditation are to:

  • Establish multidisciplinary intervention, whenever child maltreatment is suspected, to effectively break cycles of child abuse and neglect
  • Promote peer-review for support and accountability
  • Promote family reunification whenever possible
  • Implement trauma-informed care practices for children
  • On-going review of standards and criteria for accreditation
  • Use a variety of data for evidence-based practices

Questions? Read the Maltreatment and DEC Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions.