Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - District of Columbia

Date:

Citation: Ann. Code Ann. § 4-1301.06a

 Upon receipt of a report that a child is born addicted to or dependent on a controlled substance or has a significant presence of a controlled substance in his or her system at birth; has a controlled substance in his or her body as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian; or is regularly exposed to illegal drug-related activity in the home, the agency shall do the following:

  • Commence an initial investigation in accordance with §§ 4-1301.04(b) and 4-1301.06
  • Determine whether the child should be removed temporarily from the home environment or can be protected in the home environment
  • Commence a social investigation and provide social services if the initial investigation results in a substantiated report

A social investigation shall include a determination of whether there is reasonable evidence of the following:

  • Any member of the child's home environment uses drugs illegally, is dependent on drugs, or needs drug abuse treatment.
  • The child is exposed regularly to drug use in the home environment.
  • The distribution or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia occurs in the child's home environment.
  • Drug-related activity has contributed to or is likely to contribute to violent conduct within the child's home environment.

 

The social services shall include:

  • Provision of drug treatment to any member of the child's home environment who is determined to need drug treatment
  • Measures to facilitate action by the child's family, with the assistance of the agency and the police if necessary, to eliminate the child's exposure to drug use or to the distribution or sale of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia in the home environment
  • Any other service authorized or required by this subchapter or other applicable laws or rules of the District of Columbia

Citation: Ann. Code § 4-1321.02(d), (f)

Any licensed health professional, law enforcement officer, or humane officer of any agency charged with the enforcement of animal cruelty laws, except an undercover officer whose identity or investigation might be jeopardized, shall report immediately, in writing, to the Child and Family Services Agency that the law enforcement officer or health professional has reasonable cause to believe that a child is abused as a result of inadequate care, control, or subsistence in the home environment due to exposure to drug-related activity. 

A licensed health professional who in his or her own professional or official capacity knows that a child under 12 months of age is diagnosed as having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder shall immediately report or have a report made to the Child and Family Services Agency.

Citation: Ann. Code § 16-2301(9) 

'Neglected child' means the following:

  • A child who is born addicted or dependent on a controlled substance or has a significant presence of a controlled substance in his or her system at birth
  • A child who has in his or her body a controlled substance as a direct and foreseeable consequence of the acts or omissions or the child's parent, guardian, or custodian
  • A child who is regularly exposed to illegal drug-related activity in the home

The term 'drug-related activity' means the use, sale, distribution, or manufacture of a drug or drug paraphernalia without a legally valid license or medical prescription.