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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 122327 Find in a Library
Title: Parental Substance Abuse: Legal Issues for Child Protection Intervention
Journal: Protecting Children  Dated:(Winter 1989-1990)  Pages:21-23
Author(s): R Horowitz
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 3
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In the few challenges to prenatal abuse reporting to date, the courts have not, based upon statutory interpretation, imposed a reporting requirement.
Abstract: Under a medical malpractice theory, failure to take an adequate patient history or to prove for problems in light of certain symptomology might be grounds for a negligency action. In a civil tort action, however, proving a relationship between this failure and an infant's injury would be difficult. The use of a blood test to detect drug use for reporting purposes is a highly controversial topic which raises several legal and practical concerns, such as invasion of privacy, discouragement of pregnant women to seek prenatal care, and the effectiveness at detecting drug usage. An important question is whether evidence of drug exposure in a newborn, by itself, is grounds for a child abuse report. When a mandated reporter has reason to suspect that a child has been harmed, a report must be made. That the parent is abusing drugs or alcohol is irrelevant unless there is a likelihood or threat of harm. Evidence of drug and alcohol use alone will not sustain an abuse or neglect petition. If abuse or neglect is found, the agency must work with the parent to overcome substance abuse problems. 16 references.
Main Term(s): Child protection laws; Drug Related Crime
Index Term(s): Children at risk; Crimes against children; Family offenses
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