Plans of Safe Care Infants With Prenatal Substance Exposure and Their Families - Arkansas

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Definitions

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-103; Code of Rules 016 15 CARR 011

The term 'neglect' includes either of the following:

  • Causing a child to be born with an illegal substance present in the child's bodily fluids or bodily substances as a result of the pregnant mother's knowingly using an illegal substance before the birth of the child
  • At the time of the birth of a child, the presence of an illegal substance in the mother's bodily fluids or bodily substances as a result of the pregnant mother's knowingly using an illegal substance before the birth of the child

The term 'illegal substance' means a drug that is prohibited to be used or possessed without a prescription under the Arkansas Criminal Code, § 5-1-101, et seq. A test of the child's bodily fluids or bodily substances may be used as evidence to establish neglect. A test of the mother's bodily fluids or bodily substances may be used as evidence to establish neglect.

In regulation: Fetal alcohol syndrome disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects or disorders that can occur in an individual whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy.

Notification/Reporting Requirements

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-310; Code of Rules 016 15 CARR 011

All health-care providers involved in the delivery or care of infants shall do the following:

  • Contact the Department of Human Services regarding an infant born with and affected by any of the following:
    • FASD
    • Maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance
    • Withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance
  • Share all pertinent information, including health information, with the department regarding an infant born with and affected by any of the following:
    • FASD
    • Maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance
    • Withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance

The department shall accept referrals, calls, and other communications from health-care providers involved in the delivery or care of infants born with and affected by FASD, maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance, or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance.

In regulation: All caregivers involved in the delivery or care of infants must contact the Department of Human Services regarding an infant born and affected with FASD. In addition, Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) family service workers (FSWs) and health-service workers will refer children who have known prenatal alcohol exposure and exhibit FASD symptoms and/or behaviors to the DCFS FASD unit for an FASD screening.

A child maltreatment investigation that documents the presence of an illegal substance in either the bodily fluids or bodily substances in the mother or child at the time of birth resulting from the mother knowingly using any illegal substance (i.e., Garrett's Law case) will be found true but exempt and will not be placed on the child maltreatment registry. A protective services case shall be opened to establish a plan of safe care.

If the FSW determines on an individual basis the child's health or physical well-being is in immediate danger, he or she should take the newborn into protective custody.

Assessment of the Infant and Family

Citation: Code of Rules 016 15 CARR 011

Upon receipt of a call from a health-care provider involved in delivery or care of infants reporting an infant born and affected by FASD, the child abuse hotline worker will refer the call to DCFS for an FASD for assessment. The FASD FSW will do the following:

  • Contact the local county office supervisor to ask that a local FSW be assigned to coordinate the FASD assessment of the infant and to implement any POSC, if applicable
  • Conduct all FASD assessments (including, but not limited to, home visit, review of birth records, facial screening, etc.) on referred infants within 14 calendar days of receipt of referral
  • Determine whether a POSC is necessary
  • If necessary, develop a POSC in collaboration with the locally assigned FSW within 30 calendar days of receipt of the referral
  • Once the POSC has been developed, open a supportive services case plan
  • Support the local FSW regarding the implementation of a POSC, as appropriate

The local FSW will do the following:

  • Accompany the FASD FSW on the assessment of the referred infant, when possible
  • Collaborate with the FASD FSW regarding the development of the POSC, if applicable
  • If a POSC is developed, open a supportive services case
  • Conduct the Family Advocacy and Support Tool (FAST) and use the results from the FAST as well as the POSC to inform the supportive services case
  • Assume role as primary worker once the supportive services case is open and oversee implementation of the POSC/supportive services case plan
  • Assess the supportive services case for closure within 90 days of opening, if appropriate

The FASD screening will help determine if early intervention services specific to FASD are needed.

Responsibility for Development of the Plan of Safe Care

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-310

A POSC shall be developed for infants affected by FASD, maternal substance abuse resulting in prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance, or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure to an illegal or a legal substance. The POSC shall be designed to ensure the safety and well-being of an infant following the release of the infant from the care of a health-care provider. A POSC also shall include content that addresses the health and substance use disorder treatment needs of the infant and affected family or caregiver.

Services for the Infant

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-310

The POSC shall be designed to ensure the safety and well-being of an infant following the release of the infant from the care of a health-care provider.

Services for the Parents or Other Caregivers

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-310; Code of Rules 016 15 CARR 011

A POSC also shall include content that addresses the health and substance use disorder treatment needs of the infant and affected family or caregiver.

In regulation: If a child is diagnosed with FASD, the following services may be offered to the family:

  • Referral to the Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, if applicable and available
  • Referral to specialized day care, if applicable
  • Referral to an FASD family support group (available to birth, foster, and adoptive families), if available
  • FASD parenting classes (available to birth, foster, and adoptive families)

Monitoring Plans of Safe Care

This issue is not addressed in the statutes and regulations reviewed.