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NCJ Number: 134861 Find in a Library
Title: Mothers' Prenatal Drug Use: Sufficient Grounds for Juvenile Court Jurisdiction
Journal: Journal of Juvenile Law  Volume:12  Dated:(1991)  Pages:116-119
Author(s): C Lombardo
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 4
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: California's Welfare and Institutions Code declares a neglected or abused child a dependent of the juvenile court, and a recurring issue has been whether an infant born under the influence of drugs qualifies as a neglected child under the code.
Abstract: In the case of Troy D., the child was born addicted to morphine, methamphetamine, and amphetamine due to his mother's use of these drugs during her pregnancy. Troy's mother contended that even if it was proven that Troy was born under the influence of dangerous drugs, this factor alone was legally insufficient for the juvenile court to exercise jurisdiction. In a related case, a Michigan Appellate Court decided the issue of whether a mother's prenatal drug use constitutes sufficient neglect for the court to exercise jurisdiction over Baby X. This court held that a newborn suffering drug withdrawal symptoms due to prenatal maternal drug addiction can properly be considered a neglected child within the jurisdiction of the probate court. The California court in Troy's case adopted the analogy of the Baby X decision, stating that prenatal drug use by a mother is probative of future child neglect and that care of a minor includes anticipatory actions. The Troy court distinguished prior case law in its assertion of jurisdiction to protect the child because it was protecting a living child and not a fetus which is not considered a child under California's Penal Code. 25 footnotes
Main Term(s): Children of drug abusers; Juvenile court jurisdiction
Index Term(s): Abused children; California; Child abuse; Drug effects; Drug use; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Pregnant drug abusers
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