Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - Maine

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Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4011-B 

A health-care provider involved in the delivery or care of an infant who the provider knows or has reasonable cause to suspect has been born affected by substance use or has withdrawal symptoms that require medical monitoring or care beyond standard newborn care when those symptoms have resulted from or have likely resulted from prenatal drug exposure, whether the prenatal exposure was to legal or illegal drugs, or has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder shall notify the Department of Health and Human Services of that condition in the infant. The report required by this subsection must be made in the same manner as reports of abuse or neglect required by this subchapter.

This section, and any notification made pursuant to this section, may not be construed to establish a definition of 'abuse' or 'neglect.'

This section, and any notification made pursuant to this section, may not be construed to require prosecution for any illegal action, including, but not limited to, the act of exposing a fetus to drugs or other substances.

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4004(2)(E)-(F)

The department shall act to protect abused and neglected children and children in circumstances that present a substantial risk of abuse and neglect, to prevent further abuse and neglect, to enhance the welfare of these children and their families, and to preserve family life wherever possible. The department shall do the following:

  • If, after investigation, the department does not file a child protection petition under § 4032 but does open a case to provide services to the family to alleviate child abuse and neglect in the home, assign a caseworker, who shall:
    • Provide information about rehabilitation and other services that may be available to assist the family
    • Develop with the family a written child and family plan that identifies the problems in the family and the services needed to address those problems; describes responsibilities for completing the services, including, but not limited to, payment for services, transportation, and child care services and responsibilities for seeking out and participating in services; and states the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any relatives or family friends known to the department or parent to be available as resources to the family
  • File a child protection petition under § 4032 if, after investigation, the department determines that a child is in immediate risk of serious harm or in jeopardy as defined in this chapter

Citation: Rev. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4004-B 

The department shall act to protect infants born identified as being affected by substance use or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure, whether the prenatal exposure was to legal or illegal drugs, or having fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, regardless of whether the infant is abused or neglected. The department shall do the following:

  • Receive notifications of infants who may be affected by substance use or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure or who have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Investigate promptly notifications of infants born who may be affected by substance use or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure or who have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder as determined to be necessary by the department to protect the infant
  • Determine whether each infant for whom the department conducts an investigation is affected by substance use or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure or has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Determine whether the infant for whom the department conducts an investigation is abused or neglected and, if so, determine the degree of harm or threatened harm in each case
  • For each infant whom the department determines to be affected by substance use or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure or to have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, develop, with the assistance of any health-care provider involved in the mother's or the child's medical or mental health care, a plan for the safe care of the infant and, in appropriate cases, refer the child, mother, or both to a social service agency or voluntary substance abuse prevention service
  • For each infant whom the department determines to be abused or neglected, comply with § 4004(2)(E)-(F)