Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - Connecticut

Date: July 2019

Citation: Gen. Stat. § 17a-54b 

For purposes of this section:

  • 'Drug abuse' means the ingestion of controlled substances without a prescription or other authorization required under State law.
  • 'Substance use' means the excessive use of drugs or alcohol in a manner that causes harm to oneself or others.
  • 'Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder' means a range of health conditions that may affect an infant whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy, including, but not limited to, fetal alcohol syndrome.

The Commissioner of Children and Families shall develop and implement policies and procedures in accordance with the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to secure the health, safety, and well-being of infants identified as being affected at birth by drug abuse, withdrawal symptoms related to prenatal drug or alcohol exposure, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Such policies and procedures shall advance the best interests of such infants and shall include, but not be limited to, securing substance use treatment for such infants, their mothers, and other caregivers and ensuring the infants grow up in substance-use-free homes.

The commissioner shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of § 11-4a, no later than February 1, 2018, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to children and public health on the following:

  • The number of cases involving such infants referred to the commissioner on and after the effective date of this section by health-care providers
  • The policies and procedures developed and implemented by the commissioner
  • Gaps in notification to the commissioner of such cases
  • Gaps in services provided to such infants, their mothers, and other caregivers
  • Recommendations for improvements in services