Parental Substance Use as Child Abuse - Minnesota

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Citation: Ann. Stat. § 626.5561, Subd. 2

Upon receipt of a report, the local welfare agency shall immediately conduct an appropriate assessment and offer services indicated under the circumstances. Services offered may include, but are not limited to, a referral for chemical dependency assessment, a referral for chemical dependency treatment if recommended, and a referral for prenatal care. The local welfare agency also may take any appropriate action under chapter 253B, including seeking an emergency admission under § 253B.05. The local welfare agency shall seek an emergency admission under § 253B.05 if the pregnant woman refuses recommended voluntary services or fails recommended treatment.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 626.556, Subd. 2(g)(6) & (8), (k)(9) 

The term 'neglect' includes the following:

  • Prenatal exposure to a controlled substance, as defined in § 253B.02, subd. 2, used by the mother for a nonmedical purpose, as evidenced by withdrawal symptoms in the child at birth, results of a toxicology test performed on the mother at delivery or on the child at birth, medical effects or developmental delays during the child's first year of life that medically indicate prenatal exposure to a controlled substance, or the presence of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Chronic and severe use of alcohol or a controlled substance by a parent or person responsible for the care of the child that adversely affects the child's basic needs and safety

The term 'physical abuse' includes purposely giving a child poison, alcohol, or dangerous, harmful, or controlled substances that were not prescribed for the child by a practitioner, in order to control or punish the child; or other substances that substantially affect the child's behavior, motor coordination, judgment, or that results in sickness or internal injury; or subjects the child to medical procedures that would be unnecessary if the child were not exposed to the substances.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 626.5561, Subd. 1 

Except as provided below, a mandated reporter shall immediately report to the local welfare agency if the reporter knows or has reason to believe that a woman is pregnant and has used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose during the pregnancy, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol, or has consumed alcoholic beverages during the pregnancy in any way that is habitual or excessive.

A health-care professional or a social service professional who is mandated to report is exempt from reporting a woman's use or consumption of tetrahydrocannabinol or alcoholic beverages during pregnancy if the professional is providing the woman with prenatal care or other health-care services.

Any person may make a voluntary report if the person knows or has reason to believe that a woman is pregnant and has used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose during the pregnancy, including, but not limited to, tetrahydrocannabinol, or has consumed alcoholic beverages during the pregnancy in any way that is habitual or excessive.

An oral report shall be made immediately by telephone or otherwise. An oral report made by a mandated reporter shall be followed within 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and holidays, by a report in writing to the local welfare agency. Any report shall be of sufficient content to identify the pregnant woman, the nature and extent of the use, if known, and the name and address of the reporter.

For purposes of this section, 'prenatal care' means the comprehensive package of medical and psychological support provided throughout the pregnancy.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 626.5562 

If the woman has obstetrical complications that are a medical indication of possible use of a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose, a physician shall administer a toxicology test to a pregnant woman under the physician's care or to a woman under the physician's care within 8 hours after delivery to determine whether there is evidence that she has ingested a controlled substance. If the test results are positive, the physician shall report the results. A negative test result does not eliminate the obligation to report if other evidence gives the physician reason to believe the patient has used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose.

If the physician has reason to believe, based on a medical assessment of the mother or the infant, that the mother used a controlled substance for a nonmedical purpose during the pregnancy, a physician shall administer to each newborn infant born under the physician's care a toxicology test to determine whether there is evidence of prenatal exposure to a controlled substance. If the test results are positive, the physician shall report the results as neglect. A negative test result does not eliminate the obligation to report if other medical evidence of prenatal exposure to a controlled substance is present.

Physicians shall report to the Department of Health the results of tests performed. A report shall be made on the Certificate of Live Birth Medical Supplement or the Report of Fetal Death Medical Supplement filed on or after February 1, 1991.

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 609.378

A parent, legal guardian, or caregiver who endangers the child's person or health by knowingly causing or permitting the child to be present where any person is selling, manufacturing, possessing immediate precursors or chemical substances with the intent to manufacture, or possessing a controlled substance, as defined in statute, is guilty of child endangerment and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 1 year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

If the endangerment results in substantial harm to the child's physical, mental, or emotional health, the person may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 5 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.