Parental Drug Use as a Form of Potential Child Maltreatment in the United States: A Review of State Statutes Article

Kenny, MC, Diaz, KO, Goldfarb, D et al. (2024). Parental Drug Use as a Form of Potential Child Maltreatment in the United States: A Review of State Statutes . PSYCHOLOGY PUBLIC POLICY AND LAW, 10.1037/law0000419

cited authors

  • Kenny, MC; Diaz, KO; Goldfarb, D; Satoba, S

abstract

  • Parental substance use can be considered a form of child abuse or neglect when it interferes with parents’ ability to care for their child, exposes their child to harmful substances or an unsafe environment, or leads to injury of the child. Many mandated reporters may not be aware of their obligation to report parental substance use when it meets the criteria for child maltreatment. This study reviewed all 50 U.S. states’ statutes related to parental substance use as a potential form of child maltreatment and/or a criminal issue. A legal analysis utilizing both primary and secondary sources of state laws was conducted. Multiple reviewers were used to check statutes and compare findings. A coding scheme was created to determine the extent to which states utilized certain terms. Most states address parental substance use in some form as potential child maltreatment. There is great variability in how each state handles these instances, although there is some consensus that children who are exposed to an environment with manufacturing or distribution of drugs are worthy of regulation. Policy recommendations for training professionals on identification and reporting these situations as well as implications for families when reports are made are addressed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2024

published in

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)