Child protective services and drug use often go hand-in-hand. If you, or someone you love, are abusing drugs call us today at (405) 583-4390. Getting a child taken away from drug abuse is vital. If you suspect child abuse please report it as soon as possible. Our experts are standing by, and are happy to take your call and help you start a healthier life.
Addiction Affecting Children
Addiction impacts children throughout their entire lives. Substance use disorders are frequently an aspect of neglect cases. A parent struggling with addiction may end up with little to no time or energy to care appropriately for their children. As a result, these children end up without having their basic needs met. A child will struggle to achieve normal emotional development without a consistent environment and a positive caregiver relationship. Also, they can develop physical and emotional problems that affect them from birth to adulthood. In Oklahoma, CPS will take parent’s drug and alcohol use into account and step in to help these children.
I Am Pregnant and Have an Addiction
Between 550,00 and 750,000 children are born yearly with prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol throughout the nation. Due to this, these children are usually medically fragile or have a low birth weight. Some children are born prematurely and require intensive care to recover. In the years 2006 to 2007, a survey of pregnant women ages 15 to 44 years old. From this survey, about 5.2 percent of the women are using illicit drugs a month before completing the study. Additionally, 11.6 percent had consumed alcohol. Oklahoma keeps track of these births if CPS takes the child into custody for future drug or alcohol use.
When consuming alcohol and pregnant, the alcohol directly affects the fetus by absorbing through the placenta. Consequently, there is an array of permanent birth defects that affect the brain and essential organs. These defects are Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). On the positive side, the risk of harm goes down if the pregnant woman stops drinking. These children may show:
- Growth deficiencies.
- Central nervous system functioning problems.
- IQs in the mild to severely retarded range.
- Underdeveloped optic nerve and small eye openings
- A small brain and head.
- Malfunctions of the heart, ears, limbs, and joints
Equally, prenatal exposure to drugs can also have similar effects on a developing fetus. For instance, cocaine or marijuana can cause low birth weight, reduced head circumference, premature birth, or miscarriage. Marijuana use is also related to problems with brain function. Likewise, exposure to methamphetamine can also cause many problems. These problems include congenital disabilities, fetal death, growth retardation, premature birth, low birth weight, and developmental disorders.
Older Children Being Around Addiction
Addiction does not only affect infants. For example, when comparing children with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs to children whose parents do not use alcohol or drugs, it is more common for them to develop physical, intellectual, social, and emotional problems. Also, the issues that arise due to a parents’ substance abuse disorder may not emerge until much later in the child’s life. CPS has can use the laws in Oklahoma to help get a child out of a dangerous environment if there is drug use.
Neglected children who do not have the opportunity to form a strong attachment with their caregivers may:
- Lack of the ability to fully trust others and may become less willing to learn from adults.
- Experience trouble understanding others’ emotions and controlling their feelings.
- Have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships with others.
- Display decreased awareness of oneself concerning others, as well as of others’ emotions. Leading an individual to view social interactions as stressful
- Show an absence of confidence or social skills that could hold them back from excelling in school, work, and relationships.
- Have a limited ability to feel empathy or remorse. Leading to someone hurting others without feeling like their actions were wrong.
Teenagers With Parents That Have an Addiction
By the time a child gets older they start to become aware that their parents cannot care for them. To compensate for that fact, the child becomes the caregiver of the family. These children feel responsible for running the family and feel they are at fault for their parents’ substance use disorder. Also, older children may feel the social stigma attached to certain parts of their parents’ lives. However, this causes them to separate from their parents by not wanting to go home, not bringing friends over, or not asking for homework.
Exposing a child to a parents’ substance abuse disorder for longer means the more serious the effect on their development and well-being is. Unfortunately, teenagers who have parents with substance use disorders are more likely to develop a substance use disorder themselves. With this in mind, teenagers who use substances have a higher chance of performing poorly in school and becoming involved in criminal activities.
Knowing if a Child is Going Through Abuse
Under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act child maltreatment is defined as: “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caregiver, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”. Additionally, a “child” means a person younger than the age of 18 or who is not an emancipated minor. In child sexual abuse cases a “child” is a person who has not turned 18 or the age specified by the child protection law of the state, whichever is younger.
Different types of abuse:
- Physical abuse is a non-accidental bodily injury to a child under 18 years old,
- Neglect is the failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision.
- Sexual abuse or exploitation includes rape, incest, indecent acts or proposals, permitting, or encouraging a child to participate in prostitution or pornography.
- Emotional abuse is mental injury from constant rejecting, terrorizing, isolating, exploiting, corrupting, and denying emotional responsiveness.
Child Protective Services Taking Children into Temporary Custody
Child protective services (CPS) is a great resource when dealing with drug abuse. According to Oklahoma law, a child can be taken into temporary custody by a peace officer or a CPS worker if temporary custody is needed to protect the child from drug use or abuse. A child can only be taken if there is reason to believe the child is either:
- A victim or will become a victim of drug abuse or neglect.
- Suffering a physical or emotional injury that can only be diagnosed by a doctor or psychologist
- Physically injured as a result of living on premises where dangerous drugs or narcotic drugs are
When it comes to deciding if an SEN should be taken into temporary custody, the peace officer or child protective services worker can:
- The participation of the parent or guardian in the healthy families program
- The availability services to the caretaker that prevents the need for removing the child
- The effort of the parent or guardian to participate in those services
Moreover, if a child’s health is negatively affected at the time of birth, or during the first year, Oklahoma law and CPS policy will take a parent’s drug or alcohol use. In this case, factoring in a mother’s abuse of a dangerous drug, narcotic drug, or alcohol during pregnancy is also considered.
Laws Regarding Child Protective Services in Oklahoma
There are some laws regarding CPS and drug use that are specific to Oklahoma.
- The help of law enforcement is required to start an investigation of child abuse or neglect that involves an accusation of the production of methamphetamine.
- When a report allegation states that a child is in a dangerous drug situation or has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, an investigation will be conducted instead of an assessment.
- They are considering substance abuse during a safety determination and family intervention strategy; because addiction and misuse of alcohol can impact the parent or caregiver’s ability to provide child safety.
- The DHS keeps and maintains records of infants that are born present with alcohol or other harmful substances.
Witnessing Child Abuse
Witnessing child abuse means the reporter should immediately contact us. Calling us when you suspect abuse is a great start.
- The report will be confidential
- Failure to report suspected abuse or neglect is a crime
- The reporter must make sure the information is accurate. Be sure not to exaggerate or lessen the extent of the suspected abuse or neglect
Information Needed When Filing a Report
Any information that can be considered helpful in identifying the person responsible and its cause is essential. Some critical information can include:
- The names, addresses, ages, and locations of the child and their parents.
- The type and extent of abuse or neglect
- Information on safety issues such as domestic violence, weapons, or illegal substance usage
- Other people may know about the abuse or neglect.
- Any past information about the family in terms of the safety of the children and their parents
Furthermore, a reporter needs to have all of the information regarding the incident when filing their report—documenting all suspected abuse or neglect.
Steps After Filing A Report
A report is a request for a safety evaluation to gather facts and protect the child. After submitting a suspected abuse report, an evaluation starts. However, the review begins after the information meets the statutory definition of abuse. DHS will then decide if the piece falls under their responsibility. However, sometimes abuse being done by someone who is not a caretaker of the child—forcing DHS to report to law enforcement. Requiring investigations of abuse by the parent or caretaker. Thus, removing the child from home, when allegations are true. CPS and DHS will take the child away from the drug and alcohol use and into protective custody.
How Fast Will The Children Be Helped?
How does CPS decide if a child needs to be taken away? There are two timeframes that DHS has created to determine the urgency of their response. Priority one is the first timeframe. This means that the report shows the child is currently in danger, and the situation will be responded to the same day the report was received. Priority two is the second timeframe. In this scenario, the response time is based on the child’s risk of harm and vulnerability. They are designating the report as an investigation or an assessment.
- An investigation will start in up to 5 days. An investigation will begin when there are claims of severe abuse or neglect that poses an immediate threat to a child’s safety.
- An assessment will be started in up to 10 days. An assignment is started when there is a report that does not pose a serious or immediate safety threat to a child.
- In some scenarios, a report may be screened out. This can happen because:
- There was not enough information provided to find the child and family.
- The report does not meet the legal definition of abuse or neglect.
- The alleged abuse or neglect that is done by an individual that is not a caretaker or parent
Correspondingly, the reporter can get information on the report’s status after it has been made. The DHS includes information on the case investigation, assessment, and screen out. The reporter will not receive investigation or assessment details.
Call us today if you suspect someone is abusing drugs and their child. We offer a judgment-free policy, so do not hesitate to call. Professionals are standing by ready to start you on the path to sobriety. A child’s life could be on the line. Get them the help that they need today.