CASA of Arizona

Substance Exposure - pg. 10

Removal of Infants Pros and Cons



Pros

  • Early intervention services for the newborn and mother are critical in minimizing the acute and long-term effects of prenatal substance exposure. Thus, even if the newborn exhibits no clinically significant difficulties in the neonatal period, identification of the substance-exposed newborn may improve the infant?s long-term outcome.
  • Detection of substance abuse holds the promise of benefit to the mother with addiction. The mother, as well as child, may receive needed treatment and services.
  • Expanded definitions of child endangerment and abuse address recent substance abuse trends in the state of Arizona.
  • An integrated child welfare system, with communication among interested agencies, delivers comprehensive, effective, and timely assistance to those in need. CPS is able to assist families by coordinating economic, mental health, and physical health resources, creating holistic and comprehensive solutions to families struggling with issues of substance abuse.

Cons

  • Punitive approaches and incarceration have not been demonstrated to be beneficial in improving health for mothers and infants.
  • Foster placement of children and mandated entry into a complex child welfare system, with limited resources and capabilities may lead to suboptimal outcomes for both mother and infant.
  • The subject of testing for drugs of abuse, particularly testing for those that are illegal, presents ethical dilemmas for health professionals. Patients may be less likely to seek help for fear of incarceration or punitive action.
  • Health providers need to be aware of the legal implications of their actions in the context of recent court decisions that uphold the rights of mothers against unlawful search and seizure.

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