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Responding to Substance-Exposed Newborns
The reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act in 2003 requires States to have policies and procedures for reporting substance-exposed newborns to child protective services to assess the need for intervention and establish a plan of care. Resources include State and local examples.
Substance Exposed Newborns
National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center
Presents resources that analyze policies and practices regarding the identification, reporting, and child welfare response to substance-exposed newborns.
A Call to Action: Advancing Essential Services and Research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: A Report of the National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect (PDF - 3860 KB)
Olson, Ohlemiller, O'Connor, Brown, Morris, & Damus (2009)
Highlights 10 recommendations to improve and expand efforts in early identification, diagnostic services, and quality research on interventions for individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and their families.
Identifying, Reporting, and Responding to Substance Exposed Newborns: An Exploratory Study of Policies and Practices (PDF - 343 KB)
National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (2005)
Explores policies and practices regarding responses to substance exposed newborns at the time of delivery, including testing for illicit drugs and alcohol, informed consent, referrals to and response from Child Protective Services, prenatal intervention, and substance abuse treatment.
Neonatal Substance Exposure/Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN)
Arizona Supreme Court (2007)
Online training module on the effects of intrauterine drug exposure on children, including effects on long-term development and methods for working with children affected by drugs. (PDF - 85 KB)
Prenatal Substance Exposure (PDF - 1000 KB)
National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center (2008)
Examines the scope of the problem, biological and developmental effects of in utero exposure, legal issues, and treatment approaches.
State and Jurisdictional Eligibility Definitions for Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities Under IDEA (PDF - 206 KB)
Discusses how 50 States and 6 jurisdictions define "developmental delay" and "at-risk" in their definition of eligibility for services and, if applicable, their approaches to serving children who are at risk of having substantial developmental delay.
Substance Exposed Infants: Noteworthy Policies and Practices (PDF - 145 KB)
National Abandoned Infant Assistance Resource Center (2006)
Outlines the relevant policy issues and challenges facing States and presents differing perspectives in terms of both policy and practice that affect pregnant substance users and their infants. Includes some approaches taken by States to address these issues.
Substance-Exposed Infants: Policy and Practice (PPT - 553 KB)
Summarizes statistics on substance use during pregnancy and the number of substance-exposed infants, presents findings from a study describing 10 States' policies, and discusses five points of intervention for vulnerable mothers and infants. Text version also available.
Substance-Exposed Newborns: New Federal Law Raises Some Old Issues (PDF - 116 KB)
National Conference of State Legislatures (2004)
Describes the law intended to protect children who are affected by prenatal exposure to illegal drugs. Provides an overview of existing State reporting laws, discusses the role of child protective services, and highlights the importance of prevention.
State and local examples
Guidelines for Identifying Substance-Exposed Newborns (PDF - 740 KB)
Arizona Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (2005)
Outlines procedures to identify substance exposure in newborns and report suspicions to the authorities, addressing ethical considerations regarding punitive response from child protective services, analyses of benefits and risks of testing, and patient right to privacy.
Guidelines for Testing and Reporting Drug Exposed Newborns in Washington State (PDF - 91 KB)
Washington Department of Health & Department of Social and Health Services (2008)
Provides guidance to health care providers and affiliated professionals about maternal drug screening and laboratory testing and reporting of drug-exposed newborns in the State of Washington.
Intensive Home Visitation for Mothers of Drug-Exposed Infants: An Evaluation of the St. Louis Linkages Program (PDF - 301 KB)
Institute of Applied Research (2000)
Key elements of this program for mothers of drug-exposed infants include intensive home visits, referral to community services, and facilitation of enrollment in drug treatment programs.
The New Start Project: Creating a System of Intervention (PDF - 315 KB)
McGrath, Coleman, & Griggs
The Source: Newsletter of the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, 10(3), 2001
Describes a program in the State of New Jersey to expedite permanency planning for boarder babies, assessing child and family risk factors and offering intensive intervention and substance abuse treatment services for at-risk families.
Oklahoma Infants Assistance Program
Mullins & Page (2004)
Describes the activities and outcomes of a federally funded program that provided services to families with children at risk of being abandoned, primarily those impacted by prenatal exposure to controlled substances or testing positive for HIV.