Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - Florida

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Citation: Ann. Stat. § 39.01(35)(a)(2), (g)

'Harm' to a child’s health or welfare can occur when any person does the following:

  • Inflicts or allows to be inflicted upon the child physical, mental, or emotional injury by purposely giving a child poison, alcohol, drugs, or other substances that substantially affect the child's behavior, motor coordination, or judgment or that result in sickness or internal injury
  • Exposes a child to a controlled substance or alcohol

Exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol is established by either of the following:

  • A test, administered at birth, that indicated that the child's blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant
  • Evidence of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of a controlled substance or alcohol by a parent to the extent that the parent's ability to provide supervision and care for the child has been or is likely to be severely compromised 

For the purposes of this paragraph, the term 'drugs' means prescription drugs not prescribed for the child or not administered as prescribed and controlled substances as outlined in schedule I or schedule II of § 893.03. The term 'controlled substance' means prescription drugs not prescribed for the parent or not administered as prescribed and controlled substances as outlined in schedule I or schedule II of § 893.03.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 39.806(1)(j)-(k)

Grounds for the termination of parental rights may be established under the following circumstances: 

  • The parent or parents have a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of alcohol or a controlled substance that renders them incapable of caring for the child and have refused or failed to complete available treatment for such use during the 3-year period immediately preceding the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights.
  • A test administered at birth indicated that the child's blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such substances, the presence of which was not the result of medical treatment administered to the mother or the newborn infant, and the mother of the child is the mother of at least one other child who was adjudicated dependent after a finding of harm to the child's health or welfare due to exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol as defined in § 39.01, after which the mother had the opportunity to participate in substance abuse treatment.